Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease. it is characterized by widespread destruction of hepatic cells, which are replaced by fibrous cells. This process is called fibrotic regeneration. Cirrhosis is a common cause of death in the United States and, among people ages 35 to 55, the fourth leading cause of death. It can occur at any age.
What causes Cirrhosis?
There are many types of cirrhosis, and causes differ with each type:
• Laennec’s cirrhosis (also known as portal, nutritional, or alcoholic cirrhosis), the most common type of cirrhosis, results from malnutrition (especially of dietary protein) and chronic alcohol ingestion.
• Biliary cirrhosis results from bile duct diseases.
• Pigment cirrhosis may stem from disorders such as hemochromatosis.
• Other causes of cirrhosis include drug- or toxin-induced hepatic failure and chronic right-sided heart failure.
• In about 10% of patients, cirrhosis has no known cause.
Cirrhosis is characterized by irreversible chronic injury of the liver, extensive fibrosis, and nodular tissue growth. These changes result from:
• liver cell death (hepatocyte necrosis)
• collapse of the liver’s supporting structure (the reticulin network)
• distortion of the vascular bed (blood vessels throughout the liver)
• nodular regeneration of the remaining liver tissue.