Cirrhosis is a medical condition in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver and slows the liver’s ability to process nutrients, hormones, drugs, and natural toxins. Cirrhosis is a late stage of fibrosis of the liver caused by many different forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcoholism or viral infections.
The liver is in the upper right side of the abdomen below the ribs and performs many essential body functions, being the largest solid organ in the body. It performs many important functions, including:
The symptoms of cirrhosis depends on the stage of the illness. In the beginning stages, there may not be any symptoms. An early sign of cirrhosis is retaining fluid and salt leading to a swollen ankle or leg but can further lead to significant fluid retention in the abdomen (ascites).
Some common symptoms are:
Some of the common causes of the Cirrhosis are as follows:
Treatment for cirrhosis is based on the level when it is diagnosed. Some treatment options include:
The various options for surgical procedures are:
A liver transplant is only necessary when:
The Liver transplant surgery is a very complex procedure which is performed under general anaesthesia. Procedure usually takes 4 to 14 hours. During the operation, surgeons will remove failed liver and will replace it with the healthy donor liver.
The surgeon will disconnect diseased liver from bile ducts and blood vessels before removing it. The blood flowing into your liver will be blocked or sent through a machine to return to the rest of your body. The surgeon will then put the healthy liver in place and reconnect it to the bile ducts and blood vessels. The blood will then flow into new liver. You're then taken to the intensive care unit to begin recovery.
One must take immunosuppressant drugs after the procedure, throughout the life so that the body does not reject the new liver and for preserving its function.
If you are consuming alcohol from long time, or if you have an an exposure to hepatitis C, or have a family history of autoimmune diseases, or other risk factors then you are a candidate for cirrhosis. Some physical examination signs are:
Some investigations can reveal the level of damage to the liver. These tests are:
Some of the preventive measures are as follows:
The damage caused by cirrhosis can’t be undone but still the liver can be treated and can be made functional even if two-third of the function has been damaged or become non-functional.
If long-term hepatitis is the cause for cirrhosis, treating the infection can lower the chances of more problems if the damage is diagnosed early. If you are obese or have diabetes, losing weight and controlling your blood sugar can lessen damage caused by fatty liver disease. If the damage is caused by alcohol abuse, you can manage the cirrhosis better if you stop drinking.
The damage caused by cirrhosis can’t be undone but still the After the procedure, patient is taken to the intensive care unit, where there is very careful monitoring of all body functions, including the liver. Once the patient is transferred to the ward, the frequency of blood testing, etc. is decreased, eating is allowed, and physiotherapy is prescribed to regain muscle strength. The drug or drugs to prevent rejection are initially given by vein, but later by mouth.
The average hospital stay after liver transplant procedure is two weeks to three weeks. Some patients may be discharged in less time, while others may be in the hospital for much longer, depending on how the new liver is working and on complications that may arise. One must be prepared for both possibilities.
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