End-stage liver disease
End-stage liver disease is when your liver is damaged beyond repair due to chronic liver disease or acute liver failure
- End-stage liver disease is the final stage of some long-term liver diseases and acute liver failure
- Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver happens with long-term liver diseases
- Patients can have cirrhosis of the liver with or without symptoms
- Patients with severe symptoms of cirrhosis may benefit from a liver transplant
What is end-stage liver disease?
End-stage liver disease is when your liver is damaged beyond repair due to chronic liver disease or acute liver failure. Cirrhosis of the liver happens with long-term liver diseases. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. This usually happens after the other stages of damage from conditions that affect the liver.
Diseases that may lead to end-stage liver disease
- Alcohol-related liver disease
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Viral hepatitis (e.g. hepatitis B, hepatitis C)
- Primary biliary cholangitis, sometimes called primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)
- Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH)
- Primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on a background of chronic liver disease
- Occasionally the cause of end-stage liver disease is unknown
Scarring of the liver
This is known as cirrhosis.
Patients with end-stage liver disease are usually said to have either compensated cirrhosis or decompensated cirrhosis.
Liver disease and kidney failure
Patients with end-stage liver disease can also develop kidney failure. This is often reversible with a liver transplant. But some patients may need a combined liver and kidney transplant.
Acute liver failure
This is when a patient develops sudden and severe liver failure without a history of long-term liver disease. In these cases, an urgent liver transplant may be their only life-saving treatment.
Discuss your options with your doctor
If you’re considering a liver transplant, your first step is to talk to your liver doctor.
If you and your doctor agree a liver transplant may be a good treatment for you, they will arrange for you to have a series of tests.