- Viral Hepatitis
- Portal Hypertension
- Liver Tumors
- Endocrine Tumors
- Liver Transplant
- Mediastinal Lesions/Masses
- Bile Duct Cancer
- Bile Duct Disorders (Noncancerous)
- Obstructive Jaundice
- Ampullary Lesions and Cancers
Cirrhosis is an irreversible, life-threatening disease of the liver in which normal liver tissue is replaced by non-functioning fibrotic scar tissue and nodules which impede normal blood flow to the liver and normal liver function. It is the third most common cause of death in people ages 45-65, after heart disease and cancer.
The body's largest organ (except for the skin), the liver performs numerous vital functions. It metabolizes food and drugs; removes toxins from the blood; stores vitamins, minerals and sugars; converts food into energy or waste; produces proteins which help the blood clot; breaks down the body's waste products; and produces bile which helps digest and absorb food and vitamins. Almost all the blood leaving the stomach and intestines flows into the liver before it reaches the rest of the body.
For more information on Chronic Liver Disease, including symptoms and risk factors, visit our Health Library.
Liver specialists at the Center for Advanced Digestive Care are among the nation's best and have extensive expertise diagnosing and treating cirrhosis. We have a number of experts in the areas of hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis as well.
To assess whether a patient has cirrhosis, our doctors will take a full medical history, perform a physical examination, and perform a number of laboratory tests (link to Health Library), including:
- liver function
- liver biopsy
- computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan)
- ultrasound (also called sonography)
Treatment of cirrhosis is vital to prevent further liver damage and reduce the chance of complications.
Our liver disease team has extensive experience applying the latest medications and techniques to proactively manage cirrhosis, and we are conducting basic and clinical research to address complications and reduce the need for liver transplant.
If cirrhosis is caused by hepatitis, anti-viral medication will be prescribed for viral hepatitis, and corticosteroids for autoimmune hepatitis. With proper nutrition, avoidance of certain toxins (such as alcohol and many pain medications), vitamin supplementation, and management of cirrhosis complications, further liver damage can often be delayed or stopped. In severe cases of cirrhosis, liver transplantation may be considered.
In all cases of cirrhosis, it is vital that individuals with cirrhosis tell their doctors about all drugs they are taking, including over-the-counter pain relievers, dietary supplements, and any alcohol they consume.