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:
- Bile duct diseases (primary biliary cirrhosis)
- Excessive alcohol use
- Fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic type)
- Metabolic storage disorders (hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, and antitrypsin deficiency)
- Chronic viral hepatitis (due to hepatitis B and C viruses)
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.