Cirrhosis (liver scarring and failure)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Cirrhosis (liver scarring and failure) (Disease)


Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules. Each time the liver is injured, it tries to repair itself. In the process, scar tissue forms in the liver. As the scar tissue builds up, it becomes increasingly difficult for the liver to function adequately.

Cirrhosis often has no signs or symptoms until liver damage is extensive. When signs and symptoms do occur, they may include: fatigue, bleeding easily, easy bruising, yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes (jaundice); fluid accumulation in your abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, pale or clay-colored stools, swelling in your legs, weight loss, impotence, loss of interest in sex and breast development named gynecomastia in men.

Causes and Risk factors

Common causes of chronic liver disease include: Hepatitis C long term infection and long-term alcohol abuse. Other causes of cirrhosis are: autoimmune inflammation of the liver; disorders of the drainage system of the liver, such as primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, long-term infection with Hepatitis B, medications, metabolic disorders of iron and copper like hemochromatosis and Wilsons disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), galactosemia, cystic fibrosis and glycogen storage disease.

Complications of cirrhosis that can occur are: more frequent infections, malnutrition, increased pressure in the blood vessels of the liver known as portal hypertension, kidney failure, liver cancer, coagulopathy, mental confusion, change in the level of consciousness, or coma.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The gold standard for diagnosis of cirrhosis is a liver biopsy. In early cirrhosis, it may be possible to minimize damage to the liver by treating the underlying cause, but a damaged liver may need transplant surgery. ...