What is it?
Cirrhosis is a condition where normal liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue (fibrosis).
The scarring tends to be a gradual process. The scar tissue affects the normal structure and regrowth of liver cells. Liver cells become damaged and die as scar tissue gradually develops. Therefore, the liver gradually loses its ability to function well. The scar tissue can also affect the blood flow through the liver which can cause back pressure in the blood vessels which bring blood to the liver. This back pressure is called portal hypertension.
- Tiredness and weakness.
- Fluid which leaks from the bloodstream and builds up in the legs (oedema) and abdomen (ascites).
- Loss of appetite, feeling sick, and vomiting.
- Weight loss (although you may put on weight if you retain a lot of fluid).
- A tendency to bleed and bruise more easily.
- Jaundice (going yellow) due to a build-up of bilirubin.
- Itch due to a build-up of toxins.
- Mental health changes can develop in severe cases as toxins build up in the bloodstream and affect the brain. This can cause changes to your personality and behaviour, confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Eventually it can lead to loss of consciousness and hepatic coma. These changes are known as hepatic encephalopathy.
- Oesophageal Varices (enlarged dilated viens in the oesophagus, which are prone to rupturing)
- Ascites - is the result of poor liver function, as the liver is unable to produce albumin this allows fluid to leak out from the interstitial spaces into the peritoneal cavity.
|Patient with massive ascites caused by portal hypertension due to cirrhosis.|
|Real Liver 1|
|Living-donor Liver Transplantation|