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Cirrhosis

Liver disease

Cirrhosis results from long-term, continuous damage to the liver and may have many causes — HCA UK can help to manage it

About

Cirrhosis is the result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver and may have many different causes. The damage leads to scarring known as fibrosis. Irregular bumps (nodules) replace the smooth liver tissue and the liver becomes harder. Together, the scarring and nodules are called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure or liver cancer.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of cirrhosis icon plus

    Early symptoms include: - tiredness and weakness - loss of appetite - loss of weight and muscle wasting - nausea and vomiting - tenderness or pain in the liver area - spider-like small blood capillaries on the skin above waist level (spider angiomas) - disturbed sleep pattern Later symptoms as the liver struggles to function include: - swelling of the legs, ankles and feet (oedema) or abdomen (ascites) - extreme fatigue (anaemia) - irregular periods (amenorrhoea) - rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) - vomiting blood - jaundice - dark urine
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and may recommend tests to aid diagnosis. Diagnosis is made through a combination of an assessment of your medical history, a physical examination, and:

    • Blood tests, commonly Liver Function Tests (LFTs) that measure, for example, levels of liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) which are elevated during inflammation
    • Imaging tests such as a CT or MRI scan
    • Fibroscan to assess liver fibrosis
    • A liver biopsy may be required, where a tiny piece of your liver is taken to determine the cause of cirrhosis
    • An endoscopy to check for varices (abnormally dilated vessels) in the oesophagus or stomach which may rupture and bleed
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment will depend on the cause and stage of cirrhosis. The aims of treatment are usually to stop the cirrhosis from getting worse, to reverse any damage (if this is possible) and to treat any disabling or life-threatening complications. Treatment options may include:

    • Making lifestyle changes such as sodium restriction and giving up alcohol
    • Antiviral medications or corticosteroids
    • Beta blockers such as propranolol which can reduce the risk of bleeding and the severity of any bleed, should it occur

    A liver transplant is usually only recommended if other treatments are no longer helpful and your life is threatened by end stage liver disease.

     
Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 3131 7216
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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