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Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the result of chronic liver disease where the liver is scarred and no longer functions properly.

Causes

The causes of cirrhosis are those that cause chronic liver disease. Other causes of cirrhosis include:

  • Viral infections
  • Medications
  • Autoimmune inflammation of the liver
  • Disorders of the drainage system of the liver
  • Metabolic disorders

Symptoms

When the liver no longer functions properly, it can cause:

  • Ascites, an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen 
  • Coagulopathy, bleeding disorders
  • Portal hypertension, an increased pressure in the blood vessels
  • Hepatic encephalopathy, brain function disorders

Treatment

Treatment is directed at the complication of cirrhosis and preventing further damage:

  • Use of offending medications and alcohol is stopped
  • Bleeding varices are treated with banding or sclerosis
  • Ascites (excess abdominal fluid) is treated with diuretics, fluid and salt restriction, and removal of fluid (paracentesis)
  • Coagulopathy may be treated with blood products or vitamin K
  • Encephalopathy may be treated with the medication lactulose
  • Patients should avoid a diet high in protein

Infections are treated with antibiotics