what happens when liver fails (beside jaundice,bleeding,etc.)how long until you’re dead?
diagnosed with end stage liver disease-cirrhosis & hep C. in hospital a week ago, got 4 pints blood to replace what I lost vomiting and with bloody stools (I had no control over bowel functions). Currently experiencing severe abdominal pain on upper right side-front and back. supposed to get evaluated for transplant, but haven’t got to St. Louis yet. does this go on for weeks, days?
When the cells of the liver become damaged,
the immune system of the body responds to
this damage and causes inflammation to
develop inside the liver…which will cause the
liver to enlarge in size. (Can be seen on an
ultrasound or Ct scan. No matter what the
cause may be, it usually follows the same
course. If the cause cannot be found and stopped
and the inflammation isn’t treated…it can lead
to the liver cells dying off and forming scar
tissue inside the liver that will eventually
block the flow of blood to the other liver
cells and also through the liver on it’s way
back to the heart. This is then known as
Cirrhosis of the liver, a progressive disease.
Because the flow of blood is not accomplished
now, it can back up in the vein that brings the
blood to the liver, known as the Portal vein…
this causes pressure, known as Portal
Hypertension. It also backs up into smaller
vessels not used to handling this amount of blood,
known as varies or varicose veins. These can be
found in the esophagus, rectal area, and the belly
button area. (they can be seen when you have
a endoscopy done in the esophagus.) It is an
emergency situation if these vein balloon outward
in weak spots and break open. The doctors usually
go in there to band them to stop the bleeding.
A Cirrhosis patient’s liver do not make the clotting
factors like it used to, to help the blood to clot.
Therefore, easy bruising and bleeding occurs.
It is very important that any bleeding from these
areas are treated immediately so the patient does
bleed internally or bleed out completely. The spleen
can also enlarge in size because of the blood backing
up into it. Caution has to be taken that the spleen is
not injured by blunt force.
Patients can also develop Ascites; which is the build
up of fluid in the abdominal area because the liver
cannot make a protein known to hold fluid inside
our vessels…called Albumin. This fluid leaks out
and collects in the abdomen. There is a procedure
that the doctors do, to remove this fluid…known as
paracentesis. The fluid can make it difficult to eat
or breathe, because of the pressure on the stomach,
other organs, and up against the diaphragm..pushing
against the lungs. Usually this procedure will give the
patient immediate relief…however it will have to be
drained every so often…because of the lack of this
Encephalopathy is when a person becomes easily
confused, disoriented, have sleep pattern changes,
flapping or tremors in the hands, etc.
Our body uses protein all the time. The by product
from this is ammonia. The liver takes the ammonia
and try to convert it into urea, so the body can easily
dispose of it. Since the liver isn’t able to do this now,
the ammonia stay in the blood and goes pass the
blood brain barrier and into the brain. This
encephalopathy has to be treated with mediations
like Lactulose…or it could lead to a patient going
into a coma.
All pain, should be checked right away. Any
bleeding has to be checked immediately.
The doctors have all the tests results. The very best
test is the liver biopsy. They can tell from that how
far advanced in this disease you actually are.
They are really the only ones who can tell you where
you are at in this disease and how much longer you
might have to live.
When you are placed on the transplant list, there are
four blood tests that the doctors use to keep track
of how long you will live without having a transplant.
They are the Bilirubin, INR, Creatinine, and the Sodium.
Bilirubin gives them an idea of how well the liver is
functioning. INR also does this…but also tells them
how well the blood is clotting. Creatinine is to check
on how the kidneys are functions. Sodium helps them
to know if the heart is doing okay.
To understand this or any other blood testing you might
have…here is a site you can click on to place the name
of the tests from your lab work, in, and it will tell you
more about them:
http://www.labtestsonline.org or you can type
in liver functions tests or liver enzymes in your search
Here are some links to learn more about Cirrhosis,
about Hepatitis C, and about Liver Transplantation.
(just click on any of the above links to go
to the sites)
I hope this information is of some help to you. Best wishes.