What is Cirrhosis?

In cirrhosis of the liver, progressive scarring (fibrosis) of the liver causes scar tissue to replace normal liver tissue. The scar tissue damages the normal structure of the liver, which affects the normal flow of blood through the liver. The liver itself becomes distorted, hardened and lumpy. As the liver is such vital organ, cirrhosis can cause widespread changes in the body functions

Causes of Cirrhosis

  • Alcohol
  • Chronic viral hepatitis
  • Haemochromatosis – hereditary disorder where too much iron is absorbed and deposited in the liver
  • Wilson’s disease – hereditary disorder with an increased deposition of copper in the liver
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Drugs and toxins
  • Cardiac failure


Diagnosis will involve clinical history, physical examination, blood tests and often a liver biopsy will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment is directed at managing the complications of cirrhosis and preventing further liver damage.

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