Chronic Liver Disease
Chronic liver disease (also known as end-stage liver disease) is not a condition in and of itself, but rather a progressive deterioration of the liver that has been brought about by one or more underlying conditions.
Chronic liver deterioration is typically classified as either fibrosis (initial scarring of the liver) or cirrhosis (extensive scarring of the liver), although both can exist at the same time.
This deterioration can be caused by several distinct conditions, such as:
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Viral hepatitis
- Hepatitis C
- Liver failure
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)
People with chronic liver disease may ultimately become candidates for a liver transplant. Patients who are referred to Comprehensive Liver Disease & Transplant Center at Tampa General Hospital’s Transplant Institute can be evaluated to determine if a transplant will improve their quality of life.
What Causes Chronic Liver Disease?
The most common causes of chronic liver disease are:
- Hepatitis and other viruses
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Fatty liver disease
Other, less common causes of end-stage liver disease include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Blocked or damaged tubes (bile ducts) that carry bile from the liver to the intestine
- Certain medications
- Exposure to toxins
- Genetic or inherited diseases
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Liver Disease?
The symptoms of chronic liver disease can vary significantly depending on the condition at hand and the age and overall health of the affected person. A few of the most common symptoms of liver deterioration include:
- Loss of appetite that can lead to weight loss
- Vomiting blood
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle loss
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Tendency to bruise easily
How Is Chronic Liver Disease Diagnosed?
Tampa General Hospital’s liver disease and hepatology specialists can review a patient’s symptoms and health history as the first step toward diagnosing chronic liver disease.
Additional diagnostic tests include:
- Blood tests
- Examination of liver tissue with a biopsy
- Imaging tests (CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, etc.)
How Is Chronic Liver Disease Treated at TGH?
Someone diagnosed with chronic liver disease may be able to manage his or her condition with medications, lifestyle modifications and medical monitoring, depending on the specific disease and its severity. Some diagnoses may require surgery or possibly even a liver transplant.
Become a Patient
To become a patient in our Liver Transplant Program, you, your physician, or another hospital must fill out a referral form or call 813-844-8686. To speak to a transplant coordinator, call 813-844-7137.
Click here to learn more about our liver transplant process.