Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver and poor liver function. It is the last stage of chronic liver disease.
Cirrhosis is the end result of chronic liver damage caused by chronic liver disease. Common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States are:
Less common causes of cirrhosis include:
There may be no symptoms, or symptoms may come on slowly, depending on how well the liver is working.
Early symptoms include:
As liver function worsens, symptoms may include:
Your doctor will do a physical exam to look for:
You may have the following tests to measure liver function:
Other tests to check for liver damage include:
You will need a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Some things you can do to help take care of your liver disease are:
MEDICINES FROM YOUR DOCTOR
When cirrhosis progresses to end-stage liver disease, a liver transplant may be needed.
You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a liver disease support group whose members share common experiences and problems.
Cirrhosis is caused by scarring of the liver. The liver cannot heal or return to normal function once damage is severe. Cirrhosis can lead to serious complications.
Call your health care provider if:
Don't drink alcohol heavily. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about your drinking. Take steps to prevent getting or passing hepatitis B or C.
Liver cirrhosis; Cryptogenic chronic liver disease
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Garcia-Tsao G. Cirrhosis and its sequelae. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 156.
Mehta G, Rothstein KD. Health maintenance issues in cirrhosis. Med Clin North Am. 2009;93:901-915.
O’Shea RS, Dasarathy S, McCullough AJ et al. AASLD Practice Guidelines: Alcoholic liver disease. HEPATOLOGY. 2010;51(1).
Carithers RL, Mcclain CJ. Alcoholic liver diseases. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds.Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 84.
Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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