Liver Cirrhosis is a medical condition that results in severe scarring (often permanent and irreversible) of the liver. While there can be a myriad of factors giving rise to cirrhosis (such as repeated liver injury or unhealthy diet), the most common triggers include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Alcohol, NASH (non-alcoholics teatohepatitis ). In addition to interfering with the healthy functioning of the liver, cirrhosis also gives rise to many serious and life-threatening complications such as Blood vomiting, Jaundice, Ascites (a condition characterized by an increased build-up of fluids in the abdomen), Hepatic Encephalopathy, Edema, Splenomegaly. In some men, cirrhosis can even give rise to Breast enlargement and Testicular Atrophy.
Preventive measures to manage Cirrhosis and the associated complications
In the case of cirrhosis triggered by Hepatitis, medications are used to treat the viral infection thereby avoiding any further liver damage.
Unfortunately, once the liver has been scarred, there is little that can be done to reverse the damage. However timely diagnosis and treatment in the form of liver transplant can ensure long-term survival in these life-threatening illness. Cirrhotics should be under the regular follow-up to prevent the development of complications and timely referral for transplant. A damaged, cirrhotic liver is a fertile ground for the development of hepatocellular cancer(HCC).
Routine imaging on follow-up is important to diagnose HCC at an early, curable stage. These patients require liver transplant at the earliest. Also, regular upper GI endoscopy and variceal banding should be done to prevent the development of life-threatening hematemesis ( Varieal bleeding ).
Severity of Cirrhosis can be estimated by two scoring tools easily available on smartphones. Child Turcotte pugh(CTP)’s scoring system , Child’s Stage and MELD scoring system . CTP score of >7 , Child B or MELD > 15 are candidates for liver transplant. Patient with decompensation(Hepatocellular cancer , Upper GI Bleed, Encephalotpathy, Refractory ascites, Hepato-renal syndrome, Hepatopulmonary syndrome) are candidates for liver transplant.
Some other healthy modifications to control cirrhosis include