As the liver is a vital organ, any problem that affects it causes concern, however, some conditions require extra attention depending on its severity. This is what happens with cirrhosis, an injury that tends to progress over time and whose damage cannot be reversed.
This means that the liver with cirrhosis cannot be healed, because once it has been injured, it is not possible to eliminate that injury. Thus, even greater care with the control of the disease is essential, so that it does not cause complete organ failure.
Despite the severity of this problem, there are treatment options and that is what we will talk about in this article, especially so that you know the most adopted therapy in cases of advanced cirrhosis. Keep reading!
Understand how the liver biopsy is done by clicking here!
Treatment of cirrhosis
The cirrhosis is characterized by the formation of fibrous tissue in the liver as a result of injuries to the body suffers over time. The healthy cells are destroyed and replaced by this scar, composed of cells that do not fulfill the same function of the liver, that is , the liver gradually stops working.
As we explained, this fibrous tissue cannot be removed from the liver , therefore, the damaged part does not return to normal and does not perform its functions as before. Therefore, cirrhosis needs to be diagnosed in the beginning so that it receives proper control, maintaining the functioning of the organ.
For cases in which she is not in a severe stage, it is possible to adopt an adequate diet with a change in habits to minimize the progression of the disease and use medications to relieve symptoms. However, the picture is different when cirrhosis is already at a more advanced stage, which usually happens because this is a silent disease.
The challenges of treating advanced cirrhosis
When in the initial stage, cirrhosis may not manifest symptoms that generate alertness for the individual. When the discomfort becomes greater and the person seeks medical help, usually the disease is already at a more advanced stage, with impaired liver function.
Here one of the challenges of the treatment of advanced cirrhosis begins, since, as we said, it is not possible to reverse fibrosis. In addition, when this problem becomes serious it brings with it several complications, triggering clinical manifestations such as:
- Yellow in the eyes (jaundice);
- Coagulation problems and low platelets;
- Kidney and salt problems;
- ascites (water belly);
- hydrothorax (water in the chest);
- spontaneous bacterial peritonitis;
- lethargy and other signs of hepatic encephalopathy;
- feces and vomiting with digestive blood (hemorrhage);
- liver cancer.
So the liver that is sick can not be cured, but still there is an alternative treatment that actually is the only option to actually lead to a cure of cirrhosis in advanced stage: the liver transplant.
Liver transplantation for cirrhosis
As the diseased liver cannot be cured, the alternative to ensure the patient ‘s health is to replace it . Transplantation is a recommended treatment for both adults and children with advanced liver cirrhosis, since this disease also affects the child audience due to its various causes.
The biggest problem with liver transplantation is the lack of an adequate number of donors for the number of people awaiting surgery. In this way, the vast majority of countries in the world have a waiting list to obtain an organ. There are some types of liver transplantation depending on the type and severity of the disease that led to cirrhosis and the expectation of waiting time. Look:
Deceased donor transplant
In this case, the patient with cirrhosis receives the donation of an entire liver from a brain- dead person that the family has authorized to remove the organs. The donor has permanent and irreversible brain damage, is in the ICU and has undergone an extensive evaluation to be diagnosed with brain death.
Also carried out with the donation of a donor organ deceased in brain death authorized by the family. But in this case, the liver is divided between two patients, and usually an adult and a child.
Part of the liver, from a family member in excellent health and who has undergone a battery of tests, is donated to the cirrhotic patient. The donor’s liver quickly regenerates , recovering up to 90% of its original volume without causing damage to liver function.
The success of liver transplantation
For the success of the transplant, it is essential that the care after surgery is very strict , after all, the new liver is seen by the body as a foreign body, therefore, there is a risk of complications and rejection. The person needs to receive drugs that prevent these processes, especially during the first year after surgery , but care continues throughout life.
The result of transplants is among the great miracles of medicine. In most countries in the world the chance that a patient who received a liver transplant will survive about 85-90% after one year of surgery or 75-80% after five years of surgery, depending on the severity of the transplant, cause of cirrhosis and other health problems.
Check out the main complications of cirrhosis by clicking here!
In short, ideally, liver diseases should be diagnosed early to receive proper control, thus preventing their progression and impairing liver functions that lead to excessive scarring, called fibrosis and hence its extreme degree called cirrhosis. The only chance of cure for advanced stage cirrhosis is liver transplantation. There are several types of transplantation depending on the severity of the patient and the expected time on the waiting list. The results of the transplant are among the great miracles of medicine.