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Liver disease

Hepatic disease
Classification and external resources
Specialty Gastroenterology
MedlinePlus 000205

Liver disease (also called hepatic disease) is a type of damage to or disease of the liver.[1]


  • Associated medical conditions 1
    • Types 1.1
  • Mechanism 2
  • Diagnosis 3
  • Treatment 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6

Associated medical conditions


Ground glass hepatocytes
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Budd-chiari syndrome

There are more than a hundred kinds of liver disease, these are some of the most common:[2]


Liver disease can occur through several mechanisms. A common form of liver disease is viral infection. Viral hepatitides such as Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus can be vertically transmitted during birth via contact with infected blood.[18][19] According to a 2012 NICE publication, "about 85% of hepatitis B infections in newborns become chronic".[20] In occult cases, Hepatitis B virus is present by HBV DNA, but testing for HBsAg is negative.[21] High consumption of alcohol can lead to several forms of liver disease including alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.[22] In the earlier stages of alcoholic liver disease, fat builds up in the liver's cells due to increased creation of triglycerides and fatty acids and a decreased ability to break down fatty acids.[23] Progression of the disease can lead to liver inflammation from the excess fat in the liver. Scarring in the liver often occurs as the body attempts to heal and extensive scarring can lead to the development of cirrhosis in more advanced stages of the disease.[23] Approximately 3-10% of individuals with cirrhosis develop a form of liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma.[23]


A number of liver function tests (LFTs) are available to test the proper function of the liver. These test for the presence of enzymes in blood that are normally most abundant in liver tissue, metabolites or products. serum proteins, serum albumin, serum globulin, alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time.[24]


Ursodeoxycholic acid

Anti-viral medications are available to treat infections such as hepatitis B.[25] Other conditions may be managed by slowing down disease progression, for example:

  • By using steroid-based drugs in autoimmune hepatitis.[26]
  • Regularly removing a quantity of blood from a vein (venesection) in the iron overload condition, hemochromatosis.[27]
  • Wilson’s disease, a condition where copper builds up in the body, can be managed with drugs which bind copper allowing it to be passed from your body in urine.[28]
  • In cholestatic liver disease, (where the flow of bile is affected due to cystic fibrosis[29]) a medication called ursodeoxycholic acid (URSO, also referred to as UDCA) may be given.[30]


  1. ^ "Liver Diseases: MedlinePlus". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  2. ^ "Liver disease - NHS Choices". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  3. ^ "CDC - Fasciola". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  4. ^ "Hepatitis: MedlinePlus". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  5. ^ "Alcoholic liver disease: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  6. ^ "Hepatic steatosis". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  7. ^ "Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease - NHS Choices". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Hemochromatosis: MedlinePlus". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency: MedlinePlus". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  10. ^ Leslie, Nancy; Tinkle, Brad T. (1993). Pagon, Roberta A.; Adam, Margaret P.; Ardinger, Holly H.; Wallace, Stephanie E.; Amemiya, Anne; Bean, Lora JH; Bird, Thomas D.; Dolan, Cynthia R.; Fong, Chin-To, eds. Glycogen Storage Disease Type II (Pompe Disease). Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle.  
  11. ^ "Transthyretin amyloidosis". Genetics Home Reference. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  12. ^ "Gilbert syndrome". Genetics Home Reference. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  13. ^ "Cirrhosis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  14. ^ "Liver cancer - Hepatocellular carcinoma: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  15. ^ "Primary biliary cirrhosis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  16. ^ "Sclerosing cholangitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  17. ^ "Hepatic vein obstruction (Budd-Chiari): MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  18. ^ Benova L, Mohamoud YA, Calvert C, Abu-Raddad LJ (September 2014). "Vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus: systematic review and meta-analysis". Clinical infectious diseases 59 (6): 765–73.  
  19. ^ Komatsu H (July 2014). "Hepatitis B virus: where do we stand and what is the next step for eradication?". World journal of gastroenterology 20 (27): 8998–9016.  
  20. ^ "Hepatitis B and C: ways to promote and offer testing to people at increased risk of infection | Guidance and guidelines | NICE". Retrieved 2015-06-24. 
  21. ^ Samal J, Kandpal M, Vivekanandan P (January 2012). "Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection". Clinical Microbiology Reviews 25 (1): 142–163.  
  22. ^ Suk KT, Kim MY, Baik SK (September 2014). "Alcoholic liver disease: treatment". World journal of gastroenterology 20 (36): 12934–44.  
  23. ^ a b c Williams JA, Manley S, Ding WX (September 2014). "New advances in molecular mechanisms and emerging therapeutic targets in alcoholic liver diseases". World journal of gastroenterology 20 (36): 12908–33.  
  24. ^ "Liver function tests: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  25. ^ De Clercq, Erik; Férir, Geoffrey; Kaptein, Suzanne; Neyts, Johan (2010). "Antiviral Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infections†". Viruses 2 (6): 1279–1305.  
  26. ^ Hirschfield, Gideon M.; Heathcote, E. Jenny (2011-12-02). Autoimmune Hepatitis: A Guide for Practicing Clinicians. Springer Science & Business Media.  
  27. ^ "Phlebotomy Treatment | Treatment and Management | Training & Education | Hemochromatosis (Iron Storage Disease) | NCBDDD | CDC". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  28. ^ "Wilson Disease". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  29. ^ Suchy, Frederick J.; Sokol, Ronald J.; Balistreri, William F. (2014-02-20). Liver Disease in Children. Cambridge University Press.  
  30. ^ "Ursodeoxycholic acid for liver disease related to cystic fibrosis | Cochrane". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 

Further reading

  • Friedman, Lawrence S.; Keeffe, Emmet B. (2011-08-03). Handbook of Liver Disease. Elsevier Health Sciences.  
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