Final Stages of Cirrhosis of the Liver

The final stages of cirrhosis of the liver are severe and happen once the liver is unable to function. Cirrhosis of the liver is a deterioration of the liver that causes malfunctions because of chronic injury.

Symptoms of Final Stage Cirrhosis
Over time, scar tissue takes over the liver and blocks the flow of blood. The scar tissue keeps the liver from properly functioning, leading to several deficiencies in bodily functions. A person with late-stage cirrhosis will have problems

  • Controlling infections
  • Removing bacteria from the blood
  • Removing toxins from the blood
  • Processing nutrients
  • Processing hormones
  • Processing drugs
  • Making proteins to regulate blood clots
  • Producing bile, which is used to absorb cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins

Testing the Damage
Cirrhosis is measured with a score known as the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD). There are markers that are evaluated in blood tests done to find the MELD score: international normalized ratio, which tests how the blood clots; bilirubin, which tests how much bile pigment is in the blood, and creatinine, which tests for kidney function. The scores range from 6 to 40. 

A MELD score of 6 indicates the best likelihood of 90-day survival. As the score increases, so does the risk to the patient. MELD scores are often used to determine a patient's priority for a donor liver.

Symptoms of Cirrhosis
Generally, most people do not show symptoms while cirrhosis is in its early stages. Once the disease progresses further, a person may suffer from weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bloating from accumulated fluid in the abdomen, itching, weight loss and spider veins under the surface of the skin.

Once the liver starts to deteriorate, other complications may set in, including edema, excessive bruising and bleeding, jaundice, gallstones and encephalopathy, among other complications.

Treatment for cirrhosis includes eating a nutritious diet, restriction of sodium and strict abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Depending on the cause of cirrhosis, the liver may not be able to be saved. Certain prescription drugs, such as beta-blockers or nitrate, may be prescribed, but once the liver is gone, the person needs to be put on hemodialysis until a liver transplant can take place.

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