When cirrhosis progresses to end-stage liver disease, patients may be candidates for a liver transplant.
You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group whose members share common experiences and problems. See liver disease - support group.
Cirrhosis is caused by irreversible scarring of the liver. Once cirrhosis develops, it is not possible to heal the liver or return its function to normal. It is a serious condition that can lead to many complications.
A gastroenterologist or liver specialist (hepatologist) should help evaluate and manage complications. Cirrhosis may result in the need for a liver transplant.
Call your provider, go to the emergency room, or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have:
Abdominal or chest pain
Abdominal swelling or ascites that is new or suddenly becomes worse
A fever (temperature greater than 101 °F)
New confusion or a change in alertness, or it gets worse
Rectal bleeding, vomiting blood, or blood in the urine
Shortness of breath
Vomiting more than once a day
Yellowing skin or eyes (jaundice) that is new or suddenly becomes worse
Don't drink alcohol heavily. If you find that your drinking is getting out of hand, seek professional help.
Measures for preventing the transmission of hepatitis B or C include:
Avoid sexual contact with a person who has acute or chronic hepatitis B or C.
Use a condom and practice safe sex.
Avoid sharing personal items, such as razors or toothbrushes.
Do not share drug needles or other drug paraphernalia (such as straws for snorting drugs).
Clean blood spills with a solution containing 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water.
Garcia-Tsao G, Lim JK; Members of Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Resource Center Program. Management and treatment of patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension: recommendations from the Department of Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Resource Center Program and the National Hepatitis C Program. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104:1802-1829.
Garcia-Tsao G. Cirrhosis and its sequelae. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 156.
Mehta G, Rothstein KD. Health maintenance issues in cirrhosis. Med Clin North Am. 2009;93:901-915.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.