Complications of Liver Cirrhosis

Complications of Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a progressive liver disease that occurs over time. Damage to your liver can sometimes be reversed or improved if the trigger goes away, such as by treating a viral infection or by not drinking alcohol.

Cirrhosis is the pathologic end-stage of any chronic liver disease and most commonly results from chronic hepatitis B and C, alcohol-related liver disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The main complications of cirrhosis are related to the development of liver insufficiency and portal hypertension and include ascites, variceal hemorrhage, jaundice, portosystemic encephalopathy, acute kidney injury and hepatopulmonary syndromes, and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Once a patient with cirrhosis develops signs of decompensation, survival is significantly impaired.

Management of cirrhosis includes treating underlying liver disease, avoiding superimposed injury, and managing complications. Timely referral for liver transplantation may be the only curative treatment option for patients with decompensated cirrhosis.

Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are significant causes of premature mortality.

Cirrhosis also results in a liver that is "stiff" which reduces blood flow into the liver, a condition called portal hypertension. This can result in an enlarged spleen, ascites and severe gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding from dilated blood vessels (called varices) that can rupture. Once a liver reaches a stage of cirrhosis, the damage is irreversible, and advanced stages can be fatal.

Symptoms of cirrhosis are often not detectable until damage to the liver is in an advanced stage. Symptoms can include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Weight gain/ascites formation
  4. Jaundice
  5. Itchy skin
  6. Fatigue
  7. Bruising easily
  8. Bloating

The goal of treatment is to slow the buildup of scar tissue and prevent or treat other health problems.

Your treatment may include:

  1. Eat healthy, low sodium foods
  2. Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Manage health problems that occur due to cirrhosis

When liver function declines, your body will feel sluggish; you will feel tired and lose your appetite. In addition to these systemic symptoms, you may also develop symptoms such as those shown in the diagram above. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

The classification of liver cirrhosis is determined according to the appearance of symptoms: liver cirrhosis resulting in obvious symptoms such as jaundice, ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), and hepatic encephalopathy (confusion and coma) is called decompensated cirrhosis, whereas liver cirrhosis that does not produce these symptoms is called compensated cirrhosis.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.