Chronic abuse of alcohol Alcohol-Related Liver Disease , chronic viral hepatitis Overview of Chronic Hepatitis Chronic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that lasts at least 6 months. Common causes include hepatitis B and C viruses and certain drugs. Most people have no symptoms, but some have vague... read more , and fatty liver not due to alcohol Fatty Liver Fatty liver is an abnormal accumulation of certain fats (triglycerides) inside liver cells. People with fatty liver may feel tired or have mild abdominal discomfort but otherwise have no symptoms... read more use are the most common causes of cirrhosis.
Symptoms, when they occur, include poor appetite, weight loss, fatigue, and a general feeling of illness.
Many serious complications, such as accumulation of fluid within the abdomen ( ascites Ascites Ascites is the accumulation of protein-containing (ascitic) fluid within the abdomen. Many disorders can cause ascites, but the most common is high blood pressure in the veins that bring blood... read more ), bleeding in the digestive tract Gastrointestinal Bleeding Bleeding may occur anywhere along the digestive (gastrointestinal [GI]) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Blood may be easily seen by the naked eye (overt), or blood may be present in amounts... read more , and deterioration in brain function, can occur.
The diagnosis is based on symptoms and results of a physical examination, imaging studies, and sometimes a biopsy.
Doctors treat complications, but the damage due to cirrhosis is permanent.
People who have cirrhosis are at risk of liver cancer, so ultrasonography and, if needed, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT), and blood tests are done regularly to check for cancer.
Cirrhosis is a common cause of death worldwide. In the United States, about 35,000 people die of complications of cirrhosis each year.
Various disorders, drugs, or toxins can repeatedly or continuously damage the liver. If damage is sudden (acute) and limited, the liver commonly repairs itself by making new liver cells and attaching them to the web of connective tissue (internal structure) that is left when liver cells die. Repair and full recovery can occur if people can survive long enough. However, with repeated damage, the liver's attempts to replace and repair damaged tissue lead to scarring ( fibrosis of the liver Fibrosis of the Liver Fibrosis is the formation of an abnormally large amount of scar tissue in the liver. It occurs when the liver attempts to repair and replace damaged cells. Many conditions can damage the liver... read more ). The scar tissue performs no function. When fibrosis is widespread and severe, the scar tissue forms bands throughout the liver, destroying the liver’s internal structure and impairing the liver’s ability to regenerate itself and to function. Such severe scarring is called cirrhosis.
Because liver function Functions of the Liver The wedge-shaped liver is the largest—and, in some ways, the most complex—organ in the body. It serves as the body's chemical factory, performing many vital functions, from regulating the levels... read more is impaired, the liver is less able to
Break down and remove drugs, toxins, and waste products made in the body
Produce proteins that help blood clot (clotting factors)
Produce albumin (a protein that helps keep fluid from leaking out of blood vessels)
The liver processes many drugs, toxins, and body waste products. It breaks them down into substances that are less harmful and/or easier to remove from the body. The liver removes the substances by excreting them in bile, a brown or greenish yellow digestive fluid produced by cells in the liver. When the liver is less able to process these substances, they accumulate in the bloodstream. As a result, the effects of many drugs and toxins, including sometimes serious side effects, are increased. Such side effects may develop even when people are taking a dose that they previously took with no ill effects. Drugs may need to be stopped or used at lower doses and more cautiously. Some examples include opioids and some drugs used to treat anxiety or insomnia. Bilirubin is an important body waste product that the liver processes and removes. If the liver cannot process bilirubin quickly enough, it builds up in the blood and is deposited in the skin. The result is jaundice Jaundice in Adults In jaundice, the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. Jaundice occurs when there is too much bilirubin (a yellow pigment) in the blood—a condition called hyperbilirubinemia. (See also Overview... read more (a yellow coloring of the eyes and skin).
Within the liver, the bile moves into small channels (bile ducts) that join to form larger ducts. These large ducts eventually leave the liver and connect to the gallbladder (which stores bile) or to the small intestine. Bile helps make fats easier to absorb in the intestine and carries toxins and waste products into the intestine so that they can be excreted in stool. When scar tissue blocks bile flow through the bile ducts, fats, including fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), are not absorbed as well. In addition, fewer toxins and waste products are eliminated from the body.
Normally, a large part of bile (bile salts) is reabsorbed into the bloodstream from the intestine and circulated back to the liver. The liver extracts the bile salts and reuses them. However, in cirrhosis, the liver cannot extract bile salts normally. As a result, the liver cannot produce as much bile, further interfering with digestion and elimination of toxins and waste products.
In addition to interfering with liver function, scar tissue also can block blood flow into the liver from the portal vein (which carries blood from the intestine to the liver). The blockage results in high blood pressure in the portal vein ( portal hypertension Portal Hypertension Portal hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein (the large vein that brings blood from the intestine to the liver) and its branches. Cirrhosis (scarring that distorts... read more ). Portal hypertension leads to high blood pressure in the veins connected to the portal vein, including veins in the stomach, esophagus, and rectum.
As scarring progresses, the liver shrinks.
Did You Know...
Causes of Cirrhosis
In the United States and other developed countries, the most common causes of cirrhosis are
Chronic hepatitis C Overview of Chronic Hepatitis Chronic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that lasts at least 6 months. Common causes include hepatitis B and C viruses and certain drugs. Most people have no symptoms, but some have vague... read more (hepatitis C that has lasted at least 6 months)
Fatty liver not due to alcohol use (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis)
One way that chronic alcohol abuse damages the liver is by causing fat to accumulate ( fatty liver Fatty Liver Fatty liver is an abnormal accumulation of certain fats (triglycerides) inside liver cells. People with fatty liver may feel tired or have mild abdominal discomfort but otherwise have no symptoms... read more ). Fatty liver that is not caused by alcohol (called nonalcoholic fatty liver) usually occurs in people who are overweight Obesity Obesity is excess body weight. Obesity is influenced by a combination of factors, which usually results in consuming more calories than the body needs. These factors may include physical inactivity... read more , have diabetes or pre-diabetes Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which the body does not produce enough or respond normally to insulin, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to be abnormally high. Urination and thirst are... read more , and/or high cholesterol Overview of Cholesterol and Lipid Disorders The body needs fats for growth and energy. It also uses them to synthesize hormones and other substances needed for the body’s activities. The body may deposit excess fat in blood vessels and... read more .
Any disorder, drug, or toxin that causes fibrosis Fibrosis of the Liver Fibrosis is the formation of an abnormally large amount of scar tissue in the liver. It occurs when the liver attempts to repair and replace damaged cells. Many conditions can damage the liver... read more (see table Some Conditions and Drugs That Can Cause Fibrosis of the Liver Some Conditions and Drugs That Can Cause Fibrosis of the Liver ) can cause cirrhosis. Some specific causes include certain hereditary metabolic disorders, such as iron overload ( hemochromatosis Hemochromatosis Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron, causing iron to build up in the body and damage organs. In the United States, over 1 million people have... read more ), copper overload ( Wilson disease Wilson Disease In Wilson disease, a rare hereditary disorder, the liver does not excrete excess copper into the bile as it normally does, resulting in accumulation of copper in the liver and liver damage.... read more ), and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a hereditary disorder in which a lack or low level of the enzyme alpha-1 antitrypsin damages the lungs and liver. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is caused by... read more , and disorders that damage the bile ducts, such as primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is inflammation with progressive scarring of the bile ducts in the liver. Eventually, the ducts are blocked, the liver becomes scarred, and cirrhosis and liver... read more and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Primary sclerosing cholangitis is inflammation with progressive scarring and narrowing of the bile ducts in and outside the liver. Eventually, the ducts become blocked and then obliterated.... read more .
In many parts of Asia and Africa, cirrhosis often results from
Symptoms of Cirrhosis
Many people with cirrhosis have no symptoms and appear to be well for years. About one third never develop symptoms.
Others feel tired and generally unwell, lose their appetite, and lose weight:
Their fingertips may enlarge (called clubbing).
Jaundice Jaundice in Adults In jaundice, the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. Jaundice occurs when there is too much bilirubin (a yellow pigment) in the blood—a condition called hyperbilirubinemia. (See also Overview... read more can develop, making the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow and the urine look dark like cola.
When fats and fat-soluble vitamins are poorly absorbed, stools may be light-colored, soft, bulky, oily-looking, and unusually foul-smelling (called steatorrhea).
Many people are undernourished and lose weight because they have lost their appetite and because fats and vitamins are poorly absorbed. People may have a reddish purple rash of tiny dots or larger splotches, caused by bleeding from small blood vessels in the skin.
If the liver function has been impaired for a long time, people may itch all over, and small yellow bumps of fat can be deposited in the skin or eyelids.
Other symptoms may develop if cirrhosis is caused by chronic alcohol abuse or if people have a chronic liver disorder:
Muscles waste away (atrophy).
The palms become red (called palmar erythema).
The tendons of the hand shrink, causing the fingers to curl up (called Dupuytren contracture Dupuytren Contracture Dupuytren contracture is a progressive tightening of the bands of fibrous tissue (called fascia) inside the palms, causing a curling in of the fingers that eventually can result in a clawlike... read more ).
Salivary glands in the cheeks enlarge.
The nerves outside the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves) malfunction (called peripheral neuropathy Polyneuropathy Polyneuropathy is the simultaneous malfunction of many peripheral nerves throughout the body. Infections, toxins, drugs, cancers, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and... read more ).
Men may have enlarged breasts ( gynecomastia Breast Disorders in Men Breast disorders occur infrequently in men. Breast disorders include Breast enlargement Breast cancer Breast enlargement in males is called either gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia. Gynecomastia... read more ) and shrunken testes (testicular atrophy) because the damaged liver cannot break down estrogens (female hormones) as it usually does. Hair in the armpits decreases.
Complications of cirrhosis
Advanced cirrhosis can cause additional problems.
Portal hypertension Portal Hypertension Portal hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein (the large vein that brings blood from the intestine to the liver) and its branches. Cirrhosis (scarring that distorts... read more (high blood pressure in the portal vein) is the most serious complication. When it causes blood to back up in the veins connected to it, these veins may enlarge and twist (called varicose veins). Varicose veins may develop at the lower end of the esophagus ( esophageal varices Esophageal Varices Esophageal varices are enlarged veins in the esophagus, which can cause major bleeding. Esophageal varices are caused by high blood pressure in blood vessels in and around the liver (portal... read more ), in the stomach ( gastric varices Gastrointestinal Bleeding Bleeding may occur anywhere along the digestive (gastrointestinal [GI]) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Blood may be easily seen by the naked eye (overt), or blood may be present in amounts... read more ), or in the rectum (rectal varices). Varicose veins are fragile and prone to bleeding. People may vomit large amounts of blood if esophageal or gastric varices bleed (see Gastrointestinal Bleeding Gastrointestinal Bleeding Bleeding may occur anywhere along the digestive (gastrointestinal [GI]) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Blood may be easily seen by the naked eye (overt), or blood may be present in amounts... read more ). If bleeding is slow and continues for a long time, it may cause anemia. If bleeding is rapid and more severe, it may result in shock and death.
Portal hypertension can cause high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs (called portopulmonary hypertension Portopulmonary Hypertension Portopulmonary hypertension is a condition in which blood pressure is elevated in the arteries of the lungs, called the pulmonary arteries (pulmonary hypertension), and in the portal vein (which... read more ). This problem can cause symptoms of heart failure Heart Failure (HF) Heart failure is a disorder in which the heart is unable to keep up with the demands of the body, leading to reduced blood flow, back-up (congestion) of blood in the veins and lungs, and/or... read more , such as difficulty breathing, particularly when lying down, and fatigue.
Portal hypertension plus impaired liver function may lead to accumulation of fluid within the abdomen ( ascites Ascites Ascites is the accumulation of protein-containing (ascitic) fluid within the abdomen. Many disorders can cause ascites, but the most common is high blood pressure in the veins that bring blood... read more ). As a result, the abdomen swells and may feel tight. Also, the fluid in the abdomen may become infected (called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis).
Poor absorption of fats and vitamins
Over time, poor absorption of fats, particularly fat-soluble vitamins, can lead to several problems. For example, when vitamin D is poorly absorbed, osteoporosis Osteoporosis Osteoporosis is a condition in which a decrease in the density of bones weakens the bones, making breaks (fractures) likely. Aging, estrogen deficiency, low vitamin D or calcium intake, and... read more can develop. When vitamin K (which helps blood clot) is poorly absorbed, people may bleed more easily.
Cirrhosis causes other problems that can interfere with how blood clots ( disordered blood clotting Overview of Blood Clotting Disorders Blood clotting (coagulation) disorders are dysfunctions in the body's ability to control the formation of blood clots. These dysfunctions may result in Too little clotting, leading to abnormal... read more ). Some problems make people more likely to bleed. For example, the spleen may enlarge. The enlarged spleen Enlarged Spleen An enlarged spleen is not a disease in itself but the result of an underlying disorder. Many disorders can make the spleen enlarge. Many disorders, including infections, anemias, and cancers... read more may trap blood cells and platelets. Thus, fewer platelets (which help blood clot) are in the bloodstream. Also, the damaged liver is less able to produce the proteins that help blood clot (clotting factors).
However, some liver problems make blood more likely to clot. For example, the damaged liver is less able to produce the substances that prevent blood from clotting too much. Thus, blood clots may form, especially in blood vessels entering the liver (portal vein or splenic vein).
Increased risk of infection
The number of white blood cells may be reduced (called leukopenia) because the enlarged spleen traps them. When the number of white blood cells is low and the liver's synthesis of proteins that fight infections decreases, the risk of infections increases.
Liver failure Liver Failure Liver failure is severe deterioration in liver function. Liver failure is caused by a disorder or substance that damages the liver. Most people have jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), feel tired... read more can eventually lead to kidney failure Acute Kidney Injury Acute kidney injury is a rapid (days to weeks) decline in the kidneys’ ability to filter metabolic waste products from the blood. Causes include conditions that decrease blood flow to the kidneys... read more —a condition called hepatorenal syndrome. In this syndrome, less urine is produced and excreted from the body, resulting in the buildup of toxic substances in the blood. Eventually, people with hepatorenal syndrome have difficulty breathing. This kidney problem can become severe enough to require dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons... read more .
Deterioration of brain function
Liver failure can also cause brain function to deteriorate (called hepatic encephalopathy Hepatic Encephalopathy Hepatic encephalopathy is deterioration of brain function that occurs in people with severe liver disease because toxic substances normally removed by the liver build up in the blood and reach... read more ) because the damaged liver can no longer remove toxic substances from the blood. These toxic substances then travel through the bloodstream and build up in the brain.
Liver cancer ( hepatocellular carcinoma Hepatocellular Carcinoma Hepatocellular carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the liver cells and is the most common of the primary liver cancers. Having hepatitis B or hepatitis C or fatty liver disease, or drinking... read more , or hepatoma) can develop in people with cirrhosis. Liver cancer monitoring, also called surveillance (periodic assessment), is required once cirrhosis is developed, because early detection of liver cancer makes curative treatment possible.
Diagnosis of Cirrhosis
Blood tests, including liver tests
Sometimes imaging tests (for example, ultrasound)
Sometimes liver biopsy
Doctors usually suspect cirrhosis based on the person's symptoms, results of the physical examination, and a history of risk factors for cirrhosis such as chronic alcohol abuse. Often during the physical examination, a doctor notices problems that typically result from cirrhosis, such as an enlarged spleen, a swollen abdomen (indicating ascites Ascites Ascites is the accumulation of protein-containing (ascitic) fluid within the abdomen. Many disorders can cause ascites, but the most common is high blood pressure in the veins that bring blood... read more ), jaundice Jaundice in Adults In jaundice, the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. Jaundice occurs when there is too much bilirubin (a yellow pigment) in the blood—a condition called hyperbilirubinemia. (See also Overview... read more , or a rash indicating bleeding in the skin. Doctors typically then do tests to look for other disorders that can cause similar symptoms.
Blood tests to evaluate the liver Liver Blood Tests Liver tests are blood tests that represent a noninvasive way to screen for the presence of liver disease (for example, hepatitis in donated blood) and to measure the severity and progress of... read more are done. Results are often normal because these tests are relatively insensitive and the liver can function for a long time despite damage. The liver can carry out essential functions even when its function is reduced by 80%. A complete blood count (CBC) is done to check for anemia, low platelet count, and other blood abnormalities. Blood tests are done to check for hepatitis and often other possible causes.
Liver imaging tests
Imaging tests Imaging Tests of the Liver and Gallbladder Imaging tests of the liver, gallbladder, and biliary tract include ultrasonography, radionuclide scanning, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography... read more can identify advanced cirrhosis but often does not identify early cirrhosis.
Ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can show whether the liver has shrunk or its structure is abnormal, suggesting cirrhosis. These tests can detect portal hypertension and ascites.
Specialized imaging tests (transient elastography, magnetic resonance elastography, and acoustic radiation force impulse imaging) help detect early cirrhosis.
If the diagnosis is still uncertain, a liver biopsy Biopsy of the Liver Doctors can obtain a sample of liver tissue during exploratory surgery, but more often they obtain a sample by inserting a hollow needle through the person's skin and into the liver. This type... read more (removal of a tissue sample for examination under a microscope) is usually done to confirm it. Biopsy and sometimes blood tests can also help doctors determine the cause of cirrhosis.
If cirrhosis is confirmed, ultrasonography with or without a blood test that could indicate a liver tumor (alpha fetoprotein) are done every 6 months to check for liver cancer. If ultrasonography detects abnormalities that suggest cancer, doctors do magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT after injecting a substance that can be seen on MRI or x-rays (contrast agent).
When cirrhosis is confirmed, endoscopy of the upper digestive tract (inserting a flexible viewing tube) may be needed to check for varices, particularly when there are signs of portal hypertension in blood and imaging tests. This endoscopy test is repeated every 2 to 3 years. It is done more often if varices are detected.
Blood tests that assess the liver are done regularly.
Prognosis for Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is almost always permanent and can be progressive unless the cause of cirrhosis is treated. How quickly it will progress is often hard to predict. The outlook for people with cirrhosis depends on the cause, severity, presence of other symptoms and disorders, and effectiveness of treatment.
Stopping all consumption of alcohol prevents further scarring in the liver. If people continue to drink alcohol—even small amounts—cirrhosis progresses, causing serious complications.
Once a major complication (such as vomiting of blood, accumulation of fluid within the abdomen, or deterioration in brain function) occurs, the outlook is grim.
Treatment of Cirrhosis
There is no cure for cirrhosis. The liver is almost always damaged permanently and is unlikely to be normal again.
Correcting or treating the cause, such as alcohol abuse, use of a drug, exposure to a toxin, hemochromatosis, or chronic hepatitis
Treating complications as they develop
Sometimes transplanting a liver
The best approach is to stop cirrhosis in its earliest stages by correcting or treating the cause. Treating the cause usually prevents any further damage and sometimes causes the person's condition to improve.
People are given the hepatitis A Hepatitis A Vaccine The hepatitis A vaccine helps protect against hepatitis A. Typically, hepatitis A is less serious than hepatitis B. Hepatitis A often causes no symptoms, although it can cause fever, nausea... read more and B vaccines Hepatitis B Vaccine The hepatitis B vaccine helps protect against hepatitis B and its complications ( chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer). Generally, hepatitis B is more serious than hepatitis A and... read more if they have not had them before. These vaccines are given to protect the liver from further damage due to these viruses, damage that could add to their cirrhosis.
To prevent cirrhosis from progressing, people should stop drinking alcohol completely, even if alcohol is not the main cause of their liver problem (see Alcohol/Treatment Treatment Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant. Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma, and death. Genetics and personal characteristics may... read more ). Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol can be very harmful to the liver once cirrhosis is present. Withdrawal symptoms, if they occur, are treated.
People must inform their doctor of all the drugs they are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, and dietary supplements, because the damaged liver may not be able to process (metabolize) them. If people need to take drugs that are metabolized by the liver, much smaller doses are used to avoid further damage to the liver. Also, people may be taking a drug that can damage the liver and thus contribute to cirrhosis. Such drugs are stopped whenever possible, and another drug is substituted if needed.
For hemochromatosis Treatment Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron, causing iron to build up in the body and damage organs. In the United States, over 1 million people have... read more , bloodletting (phlebotomy) is the best treatment. For Wilson disease, a medication to remove copper from the body is used. For fatty liver disease, weight loss is the treatment and diabetes and high cholesterol should be controlled tightly.
Chronic viral hepatitis Treatment Chronic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that lasts at least 6 months. Common causes include hepatitis B and C viruses and certain drugs. Most people have no symptoms, but some have vague... read more is treated with antiviral drugs and autoimmune liver diseases are treated with corticosteroids or other drugs that affect the immune system.
Generally, people with advanced cirrhosis need a liver transplant Liver Transplantation Liver transplantation is the surgical removal of a healthy liver or sometimes a part of a liver from a living person and then its transfer into a person whose liver no longer functions. (See... read more , but transplantation is used sometimes to treat certain causes of liver disease even before the liver becomes cirrhotic.
For complications, treatment includes
For accumulation of fluid within the abdomen (when cirrhosis is advanced): Restriction of sodium in the diet because excess sodium can contribute to fluid accumulation. Drugs can help eliminate excess fluid by increasing the amount of urine produced.
For vitamin deficiencies: Supplemental vitamins
For hepatic encephalopathy: Drugs to help bind toxins in the bowel (in the stool) and antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract that produce these toxins
For bleeding from the digestive tract varices: Beta-blockers to lower blood pressure in the liver's blood vessels and/or surgical application of elastic bands to tie off the bleeding blood vessels (called endoscopic banding, or ligation)
To place the bands, doctors use a viewing tube (endoscope) inserted through the mouth. If beta-blockers or band ligation cannot be used or is unsuccessful, doctors may use one of the following procedures:
Endoscopic cyanoacrylate injection: Doctors pass an endoscope through the mouth and into the digestive tract. Working through the endoscope, they inject cyanoacrylate (a gluelike substance) into the bleeding vein. The cyanoacrylate closes the blood vessel, and bleeding stops.
Balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration: After injecting a local anesthetic, doctors make a small incision in the skin over a large vein, typically in the neck or groin. Then they insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a deflated balloon at its tip into the vein and thread the tube to the site of the bleeding. The balloon is inflated to block blood flow. Then a substance that causes scar tissue to form is injected in or near the vein to block it and stop the bleeding.
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting (TIPS): Doctors insert a catheter into a vein in the neck and, using x-rays to guide them, thread the catheter to veins in the liver. The catheter is used to create a passage (shunt) that connects the portal vein (or one of its branches) directly with one of the hepatic veins, which carry blood from the liver to the body's largest vein, which returns blood to the heart. Thus, most of the blood that normally goes to the liver is rerouted to bypass the liver. This procedure lowers blood pressure in the portal vein because pressure is lower in the hepatic veins. By reducing this pressure, TIPS helps reduce bleeding from the veins in the digestive tract and accumulation of fluid within the abdomen.
For suitable candidates, liver transplantation Liver Transplantation Liver transplantation is the surgical removal of a healthy liver or sometimes a part of a liver from a living person and then its transfer into a person whose liver no longer functions. (See... read more may be done. If transplantation is successful, the transplanted liver typically functions normally, and the symptoms of cirrhosis and liver failure should disappear. Liver transplantation can be lifesaving for people with advanced cirrhosis or liver cancer. Liver transplantation is usually done based on how likely people are to die if they do not receive a liver transplant.