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What are the final stages of cirrhosis of the liver?

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Quick Answer

The final stages of liver cirrhosis are referred to as decompensated cirrhosis and involve progressive failure of the liver due to the accumulation of scar tissue, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A number of symptoms may occur as cirrhosis progresses into its final stages; these include jaundice, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, kidney failure, bleeding in the stomach and intestines, and encephalopathy due to toxin accumulation in the blood.

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Full Answer

The most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver are alcohol abuse and infection with diseases such as viral hepatitis and schistosomiasis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Rarely, certain genetic disorders, bile duct problems and exposure to certain chemicals can also lead to cirrhosis. Regardless of the cause, cirrhosis results in the build-up of scar tissue in the liver. The liver mostly is able to offset the loss of function due to this scarring in the beginning states of cirrhosis, though symptoms such as fatigue or abdominal pain may occur. The decompensated stage of cirrhosis begins once liver function declines sufficiently that other body systems are affected.

Many of the complications experienced by patients suffering from decompensated cirrhosis can be life-threatening, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bleeding from enlarged veins in the abdomen presents a serious medical emergency, and encephalopathy due to cirrhosis can eventually progress into coma. People with advanced cirrhosis also have a higher risk of developing liver cancer. While treatments can help slow or stop the progression of cirrhosis, the only way to restore liver function once end-stage liver disease occurs is a liver transplant.

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