Chronic Liver Disease / Cirrhosis

Chronic liver disease is more common than acute liver failure, and its causes include:

  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B and C viruses
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
  • Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Hereditary haemochromotosis
  • Wilson’s Disease
  • α1-Antitrypsin deficiency
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Exposure to certain medication and toxins

Portal hypertension is a complication of cirrhosis which can cause ascites (a build-up of fluid in the abdomen), encephalopathy (altered consciousness, lethargy or confusion) and variceal bleeding (blood vessels lining the gut become enlarged, and may cause life-threatening haemorrhage).

Patients with chronic liver disease may develop other organ failures - often precipitated by infection, bleeding, alcohol ingestion, vascular thrombosis and drug therapies. Progression of liver damage from cirrhosis may be slowed with appropriate treatment and complications reduced. Liver transplantation may be indicated subject to assessment by a transplant hepatologist and surgeon.