Your liver is an internal chemical power plant. It converts your food into energy and substances needed for life and growth. Your liver also filters your blood. It is a very important organ.


What is Cirrhosis of the liver?

Cirrhosis of the liver (sometimes called hepatic cirrhosis) is scar tissue in the liver (caused by inflammation of liver cells). The scar tissue reduces blood flow through the liver. The liver then can’t do its work as well as it should.


What is the most common cause of liver Cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis can be caused by a few things. Hepatitis B is a major cause of liver cirrhosis. Lifestyle factors – such as heavy drinking (alcohol-related hepatitis) or being overweight (fatty liver disease) – can also be causes for liver cirrhosis. Hepatitis C used to be a major cause for liver cirrhosis but it is now easily cured (see hepatitis C treatment).


How to diagnose liver Cirrhosis?

Doctors use several tests to diagnose liver cirrhosis. Initially, they would use a blood test called a Liver Function Test. It would typically be part of a full blood assay that also includes tests for viral hepatitis. If the Liver Function Test suggested there may be liver damage occurring, a Fibroscan would be used to estimate the condition of your liver. 

If you are diagnosed with cirrhosis, you will be looked after by a liver specialist and liver clinic team. They will help to address the causes of your cirrhosis and manage or cure your liver disease.

Click here to see our Fibroscan page >>


Can liver Cirrhosis be passed from one person to another?

Liver cirrhosis is not transferrable. Cirrhosis usually develops over time, as a result of viral infections, lifestyle factors and some other less common causes. You can’t get liver cirrhosis from someone else.


What is the difference between compensated and decompensated Cirrhosis?

There are 2 stages of liver cirrhosis: compensated and decompensated cirrhosis.

Compensated cirrhosis is the early stage of liver cirrhosis. It has only mild or no symptoms. At this point some of your liver still works well enough to compensate (make up) for the parts of the liver that have scarring.

If liver damage gets worse, you will get the next stage of liver damage, called decompensated cirrhosis.

Decompensated cirrhosis is advanced liver cirrhosis and is dangerous. At this point your liver can’t carry out the important jobs it needs to do. In other words, your liver is starting to fail. By now you may be feeling tired, have poor appetite and be losing weight.


Find out more about liver Cirrhosis and support services

Want to learn more about liver Cirrhosis? Order our free liver Cirrhosis toolkit for patients, or call the Hepatitis Infoline to speak to someone who knows about Cirrhosis of the liver.

Want to see our Liver Cirrhosis toolkit booklet? Click here to open a ‘flick through’ PDF >>

Want to know more about cirrhosis? Click here to see our Detailed hep C information page >> 

This page last updated 10 Jan 2018

Was this page useful?