What Is End Stage Liver Disease?

Save

End-stage liver disease occurs when the complications associated with liver disease can no longer be controlled through medical treatment. The most viable option for those suffering from end-stage liver disease is a liver transplant.

Significance

  • When the harmful effects of liver disease become irreversible, as in chronic alcoholism and serious liver infections, a doctor may diagnose end-stage liver disease. It's characterized by excessive cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver, which divides the organ into irregular islands until, eventually, complete liver failure occurs.

Levels of Severity

  • The severity of end-stage liver disease is best monitored and determined by using the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD). Doctors use patients' MELD scores to prioritize sufferers so that those with the fewest remaining years of life can be moved up on the transplant waiting list. MELD scores range from 6 (longest expected life span) to 40 (shortest expected life span). They're calculated using the patient's bilirubin level (a measure of how well the liver is excreting bile), prothrombin time (which measures how fast blood clots) and creatinine level (a measure of kidney function).

Treatment

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis were the twelfth-leading cause of death in the United States in 2006. Because alcohol is primarily metabolized in the liver, continued drinking will cause additional damaging of healthy tissue and precipitate end-stage liver disease. Abstinence from alcohol may be the single biggest lifesaving step patients with liver disease can take.

Research

  • Recent efforts in tissue engineering attempt to provide replacement liver tissue for patients with end-stage liver disease. Successfully replacing damaged liver tissue would enable patients to regain use of the organ. Unfortunately, research has been hindered by the inability to provide a sustainable artificial blood supply, which is necessary to simulate the exchanges of essential nutrients and gases.

Lack of Donors

  • Because of the shortage of liver donors, approximately 1,500 people awaiting a transplant each year will die. Of the estimated 17,000 people on the liver transplant waiting list in 2005, only 5,000 received transplants that year.

References

  • Photo Credit Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Promoted By Zergnet

Resources

You May Also Like

  • The Final Stage of Cirrhosis of the Liver

    Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition characterized by scarring of the liver, which is essential to proper functioning of the body....

  • Stages of Liver Disease

    The liver is a vital organ for keeping the body healthy. When the liver begins to deteriorate, it goes through several stages...

  • Stages of Liver Damage

    The liver is an important filtration organ in the body. Without the liver, toxins will accumulate in the body, and death will...

  • Final Stages of Liver Failure

    Liver failure means that significant parts of the liver aren't able to heal. The liver is the largest glandular organ of the...

  • What to Expect When Dying of Liver Cancer

    Terminal liver cancer is unpleasant no matter how you look at it, but understanding what to expect can help you prepare yourself...

  • End Stage Liver Disease Life Expectancy

    The life expectancy of a patient with end-stage liver disease is bleak, from weeks to a few months. A liver transplant may...

  • Edema & End Stage Liver Disease

    Edema is a condition of fluid retention in the body, and may be one of many consequences of end-stage liver disease, called...

  • How to Reverse Liver Cirrhosis

    Cirrhosis of the liver is a complication that can arise as a result of liver disease. Diseases that can affect the liver...

Related Searches

Check It Out

This Is the Beauty Routine of a Yelp Sales Manager

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!