Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from functioning properly. The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver and slows the processing of nutrients, hormones, drugs, and naturally produced toxins. Cirrhosis can cause weakness, loss of appetite, easy bruising, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue.
Diagnosis of cirrhosis can be suggested by history, physical examination and blood tests, and can be confirmed by liver biopsy.
Complications of cirrhosis include edema and ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, bleeding from varices, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, hepatopulmonary syndrome, hypersplenism, and liver cancer.
Treatment of cirrhosis is designed to prevent further damage to the liver, treat complications of cirrhosis, and preventing or detecting liver cancer early.
Transplantation of the liver is becoming an important option for treating patients with advanced cirrhosis.
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