During the final stages of liver cirrhosis, liver scarring prevents full organ function and leads to liver failure claims eMedicineHealth. When doctors are grading a liver biopsy, stage four fibrosis is defined as verified or plausable cirrhosis of the liver, notes PathologyOutlines.com.
Doctors determine the presence and stage of liver fibrosis, or fibrosis that has progressed to cirrhosis, with a biopsy, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. In some cases, a biopsy is not necessary and a diagnosis can be made with a combination of blood tests, endoscopy, a physical examination or imaging studies.
Early symptoms of liver failure caused by severe cirrhosis include tiredness, diarrhea, queasiness and loss of appetite. Confusion, jaundice, edema around the abdomen and sleepiness are signs of advanced liver failure, notes WebMD.
Progressive scarring within the liver can also cause high blood pressure inside of the organ. This condition, called portal hypertension, is a common condition for people with cirrhosis, explains eMedicineHealth. As it advances, portal hypertension can cause overall fluid retention and intestinal bleeding. This bleeding can progress to the stomach and esophagus, causing enlarged veins and potentially fatal bleeding. This gastrointestinal bleeding often causes someone with cirrhosis to vomit blood.
Severe liver cirrhosis can also cause additional health complications. Liver failure can cause kidney failure. Liver cirrhosis also prevents the liver from removing toxins in the blood. As the toxin levels build, sleepiness and confusion, which may lead to a coma, can occur, claims eMedicineHealth.