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Cirrhosis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for Cirrhosis

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms that don't go away in a day or 2, or if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Sudden weight gain with increased size of your abdomen
  • Increasing water retention
  • Jaundice
  • Changes in your mental faculties or behavior
  • New or different responses to medications
  • Bleeding that takes longer than usual to stop

If you are unable to reach your health care provider or have any of these, go to the emergency department.

  • Blood in your vomit or stool
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion or bizarre behavior
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Fever

Exams and Tests for Cirrhosis

Your medical history, current symptoms, or physical exam findings may suggest to your health care provider that you have cirrhosis.

  • He or she may suspect cirrhosis if you have abused alcohol or IV drugs in the past or still do so.
  • Known chronic hepatitis, unexplained bleeding, jaundice, ascites (fluid building up in your abdomen), or any changes in the way you act are other findings that suggest cirrhosis.
  • The condition may not be diagnosed until complications develop.

The steps in making the diagnosis of cirrhosis may include the following:

  • Blood tests - To check whether the liver is functioning normally. Lab findings can be normal in cirrhosis, however.
  • Ultrasound, CT scan to look for signs of cirrhosis within or on the surface of the liver
  • Liver biopsy - Removing tissue from the liver and studying it under a microscope to identify fibrosis and scarring. Biopsy is the only way diagnosis can be 100% certain.
  • Laparoscope - A very tiny camera inserted through a small slit in the abdomen to view the liver directly. This may be done for another reason and your doctor finds you have cirrhosis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/4/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cirrhosis:

Cirrhosis of the Liver - Treatment

What treatment has been effective for your cirrhosis?

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The symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cirrhosis »

Cirrhosis represents the final common histologic pathway for a wide variety of chronic liver diseases. The term cirrhosis was first introduced by Laennec in 1826.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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