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Cirrhosis

Scarring and permanent injury to the liver, usually the result of chronic, long term damage.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and National Library of Medicine)

About Cirrhosis

A healthy liver is necessary for survival. The liver can regenerate most of its own cells when they become damaged. However, if injury to the liver is too severe or long lasting, regeneration is incomplete, and the liver creates scar tissue. Scarring of the liver, also called fibrosis, may lead to cirrhosis.

The buildup of scar tissue that causes cirrhosis is usually a slow and gradual process. In the early stages of cirrhosis, the liver continues to function. However, as cirrhosis gets worse and scar tissue replaces more healthy tissue, the liver will begin to fail.

Chronic liver failure, which is also called end-stage liver disease, progresses over months, years, or even decades. With end-stage liver disease, the liver can no longer perform important functions or effectively replace damaged cells... NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Transient Elastography with Suspected Fibrosis and Cirrhosis of the Liver [Internet]

Evidence supporting colchicine for alcoholic, viral, and cryptogenic liver fibrosis/cirrhosis is still lacking

Alcohol and hepatotropic viruses are major causes of liver fibrosis and liver cirrhosis. Colchicine is an anti‐inflammatory and anti‐fibrotic drug. This systematic review could not demonstrate any significant beneficial effects of colchicine on mortality, liver‐related mortality, liver complications, liver biochemistry, or liver histology of patients with liver fibrosis or liver cirrhosis due to alcohol, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or unknown etiology. Colchicine was associated with a significant increase in adverse events. Accordingly, there seems to be no evidence for using colchicine for alcoholic, viral, or cryptogenic liver fibrosis/cirrhosis outside randomised clinical trials.

Transient elastography for measurement of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease

Liver fibrosis is a change in the microscopic structure of the liver because of liver inflammation. After many years of excessive alcohol consumption, liver fibrosis progresses to cirrhosis. Abstaining from alcohol may stop the fibrosis from further progression into significant or severe fibrosis and cirrhosis. The latter lead to complications of underlying diseases, including cancer.

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Summaries for consumers

Dasabuvir (Exviera) for hepatitis C (genotype 1a) in adults who have not had previous treatment and do not have liver cirrhosis

In early 2015, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of dasabuvir for people with hepatitis C compared with standard therapies. The following results apply to people who have a chronic HCV infection without cirrhosis and who have not had any previous treatment. The manufacturer provided one relevant study. One group of participants (69 people) took dasabuvir as part of a triple therapy together with ribavirin and the combination drug ombitasvir / paritaprevir / ritonavir. Another group (34 people) had standard therapy with peginterferon, ribavirin, and telaprevir. The results are described below.

Ledipasvir / sofosbuvir (Harvoni) for chronic hepatitis C: Ledipasvir / sofosbuvir (Harvoni) for hepatitis C (genotype 1) in people with liver cirrhosis who have had no previous treatment

In early 2015, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of ledipasvir / sofosbuvir compared with standard therapies for the treatment of hepatitis C infection. The following results apply to cases of chronic hepatitis C (genotype 1) in people with liver cirrhosis who have had no other previous treatment. The patients did not also have an HIV infection. For this group, IQWiG performed a historical comparison with data from a total of ten studies. One of these studies looked into treatment with ledipasvir / sofosbuvir, and the other nine examined the double combination of peginterferon alfa and ribavirin.

Fixed combination of ombitasvir / paritaprevir / ritonavir (Viekirax) for hepatitis C (genotype 1a) without previous treatment and without liver cirrhosis

In early 2015, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of the fixed combination ombitasvir / paritaprevir / ritonavir in people with hepatitis C compared with standard therapies. The following results apply to people with a chronic HCV infection (genotype 1a) without cirrhosis who have not had any previous treatment. The manufacturer provided one relevant study. One group of participants (69 people) took the fixed combination ombitasvir / paritaprevir / ritonavir as part of a triple therapy together with dasabuvir and ribavirin. Another group (34 people) had a standard therapy with peginterferon, ribavirin, and telaprevir. The results are described below.

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More about Cirrhosis

Photo of an adult

See Also: Primary Biliary Cholangitis

Other terms to know:
Fibrosis

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