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Br Med Bull. 1992 Oct;48(4):877-92.

Liver and biliary problems in cystic fibrosis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK.


There have been striking advances in the management of complications of cirrhosis in the 50 years since biliary cirrhosis was recognised as a feature occurring in a minority of patients with cystic fibrosis. Many questions remain unanswered with regard to its pathogenesis, its effect on other systems, morbidity and mortality and to its optimum management. Factors which may initiate liver disease and/or cause progressive biliary fibrosis leading to biliary cirrhosis in some cystic fibrosis patients are being defined but much is still poorly understood and further research is required. Clinical and pathological studies confirm that cirrhosis is frequently asymptomatic and only slowly progressive, with the prevalence rising with age. In a recent large epidemiological study, however, it was found that the age related prevalence fell in patients over the age of 20 years although deaths from liver disease were rare. Does the presence of liver disease cause premature respiratory death in teenagers? Current treatments control variceal bleeding, the important sequel for most patients with biliary cirrhosis, with less morbidity and mortality than in the past but require reappraisal as newer techniques become available. Endoscopic radiologically controlled methods are emerging as an important adjunct to the surgical control of biliary complications which cause symptoms in up to 4%. Ursodeoxycholic acid improves liver function tests but its effect on hepatic fibrosis and portal hypertension will only be demonstrated by large scale prospective controlled trials. Should liver transplantation have a larger role in management? In this chapter we have attempted to summarise the current state of knowledge and to assess the efficacy of present management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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