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Cirrhosis

Also called: Hepatic fibrosis

Summary

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. Scar tissue forms because of injury or long-term disease. Scar tissue cannot do what healthy liver tissue does - make protein, help fight infections, clean the blood, help digest food and store energy. Cirrhosis can lead to

  • Easy bruising or bleeding, or nosebleeds
  • Swelling of the abdomen or legs
  • Extra sensitivity to medicines
  • High blood pressure in the vein entering the liver
  • Enlarged veins called varices in the esophagus and stomach. Varices can bleed suddenly.
  • Kidney failure
  • Jaundice
  • Severe itching
  • Gallstones

A small number of people with cirrhosis get liver cancer.

Your doctor will diagnose cirrhosis with blood tests, imaging tests, or a biopsy.

Cirrhosis has many causes. In the United States, the most common causes are chronic alcoholism and hepatitis. Nothing will make the scar tissue disappear, but treating the cause can keep it from getting worse. If too much scar tissue forms, you may need to consider a liver transplant.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • Video (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in
  • Liver Function Tests: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • Video (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Living With

  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Related Issues

  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (American College of Gastroenterology)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Statistics and Research

  • (National Center for Health Statistics)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

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