Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
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The Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre
The Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre for liver transplant and liver medicine

Liver medicine and translplant - Acute liver disease

Chronic liver disease is marked by the gradual destruction of liver tissue over time. Several liver diseases fall under this category, including:

  • cirrhosis of the liver
  • fibrosis of the liver

What is cirrhosis of the liver?
Because of chronic damage to the liver, scar tissue slowly replaces normal functioning liver tissue, progressively diminishing blood flow through the liver. As the normal liver tissue is lost, nutrients, hormones, drugs and poisons are not processed effectively by the liver. In addition, protein production and other substances produced by the liver are inhibited.

What is fibrosis?
Fibrosis is the growth of scar tissue due to infection, inflammation, injury, or even healing. The overgrowth of scar tissue can occur in almost any organ. Fibrosis in the liver can inhibit the organ's proper functioning. Liver fibrosis usually results in cirrhosis.

Treatment for cirrhosis:
Specific treatment for cirrhosis will be determined by your physicians based on: Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre: Acute liver disease surgery

  • your overall health and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Cirrhosis is a progressive liver disease, and damage sustained to the liver is irreversible. However, with proper nutrition, avoidance of certain toxins (i.e. alcohol), vitamin supplementation, and management of cirrhosis complications, further liver damage can often be delayed or stopped. In severe cases of cirrhosis, liver transplantation may be considered.

 
page last reviewed: 25 January 2010