Q:

How is end-stage liver disease treated?

A:

Quick Answer

Patients with end-stage liver disease receive liver transplants when they qualify. Doctors use the patient's extent of liver damage, existence of any other conditions, likelihood of survival, ability to follow the aftercare protocol and the existing support system to determine suitability, notes Lankenau Medical Center.

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Full Answer

To find the information necessary to evaluate the patient, doctors perform a complete medical history and physical evaluation. This includes urine and blood tests; analysis of kidney, lung and heart function; a psychosocial analysis; and imaging studies, according to Lankenau Medical Center.

For patients who do not qualify for transplants, end-stage liver disease often leads to hospice care. Patients who lose functional independence, cannot work, suffer from cognitive impairment and/or confusion as well as malaise, show alterations in behavior and mood and have difficulty breathing are likely to benefit from the use of hospice services. Often, the patient's physician recommends hospice, but it is important for family members and the patient to advocate for themselves. Hospice care involves relieving emotional and physical stress to allow patients to keep their dignity and remain comfortable as long as possible. Hospice care is available wherever the patient lives and manages all of the unpleasant symptoms that accompany end-stage liver disease, as stated by Vitas Healthcare.

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