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Complications of Cirrhosis


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Cirrhosis is a chronic (ongoing) liver disease that results when scar tissue replaces normal liver cells over time. It’s an irreversible condition caused by:

Cirrhosis affects how blood flows in the liver and how it processes toxins, nutrients, hormones, and medicines. It also impacts how the liver produces protein and other important substances.

Symptoms of cirrhosis include nausea, weight loss, and increased bruising. Complications of cirrhosis are far-reaching and may require treatment from different specialists. These complications include:

  • Ascites: swelling and fluid in the abdomen and lower body caused by increased pressure in the blood flow to the liver (called portal hypertension)
  • Hepatic encephalopathy: loss of brain function that happens when the liver doesn’t remove toxins in the blood
  • Liver cancer: tumors or masses in the liver (called hepatocellular carcinoma) or biliary tract (intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma)
  • Portal hypertension: increased pressure in the portal vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver
  • Variceal bleeding: happens when veins rupture and bleed due to blood pressure build up in the portal vein (called portal hypertension)

If you or a loved one has cirrhosis, University of Miami Health System hepatologists (liver specialists) can minimize complications with early condition management, to provide better outcomes. Make an appointment with one of our hepatologists today.

Why Choose UHealth?

Collaboration with experts in other medical fields, including liver transplantation. We work closely with other specialists you might see, such as cardiologists, interventional radiologists, and neurologists to ensure you receive the best care possible. And if you need a liver transplant, we’re part of the Miami Transplant Institute — South Florida’s only liver transplant facility. You can get all your care under one system.

Seamless services from specialists who care about you. Our hepatology teams are here for you both in the hospital or in the outpatient (clinic) setting. We get to know your family and help you become the healthiest you can be.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.


  • Interventional Radiology Techniques

    Interventional radiology procedures use image-guided technology to repair problems with the vascular system (blood vessels and arteries), like bleeding. Endoscopic banding and sclerotherapy injections are examples.

  • Medicine Therapy

    Medicines can help improve symptoms of cirrhosis or treat the conditions it causes. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to reduce fluid in the abdomen, reduce blood pressure in the veins, restrict bleeding, treat infections, or remove toxins from the blood.

  • Surgery

    Hepatobiliary surgeries to treat complications of cirrhosis vary, but include minimally invasive and open techniques to remove damage or resect tumors. Portal hypertension surgery can reduce blood pressure in the veins or reroute blood flow — as with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and distal splenorenal shunt (DSRS).

  • Transplant

    If your condition is advanced or doesn’t respond well to medicine therapy or surgery, a liver transplant may be an option.


  • Abdominal Angiography

    This X-ray image of the blood vessels checks blood flow to the liver and spleen. The procedure involves injecting a contrast dye through a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into an artery.

  • Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

    Medical imaging such as abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans show blood flow, size, structure, and function of the liver and surrounding organs.

  • Biopsy

    A liver biopsy is a small tissue sample taken from a needle for analysis at a lab. Liver biopsies are performed using ultrasound imaging to guide the needle to the right place.

  • Elastography

    This procedure measures sound waves moving through the liver to detect tissue stiffness or hardening. Techniques include magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) and transient elastography using ultrasound.

  • Lab Tests

    Some of the urine and blood tests that help detect complications of cirrhosis include liver function studies, cellular blood counts, electrolytes, and autoimmune antibodies.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • Doctor's Healthcare Plan
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • Florida Community Care (FCC)
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care