Cirrhosis - Treatment Overview
Receiving a liver from an organ donor (liver transplant) is the only
treatment that will restore normal liver function and cure
portal hypertension. A liver transplant is usually
considered only when liver damage is severe and threatening your life.
condition becomes severe, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether you will be a good candidate for a
liver transplant if your disease becomes advanced.
Liver transplant surgery is
very expensive. You may have to wait a long time for a transplant, because so
few organs are available. Even if a transplant occurs, it may not work. With these things in mind, doctors must decide who will benefit
most from receiving a liver. Good candidates include those who have not abused alcohol or illegal drugs
for the previous 6 months and those who have a good support system of family and friends.
Talk to your doctor about what steps you
can take now to improve your overall health so that you can increase your
chances of being considered a good candidate.
If your cirrhosis gets worse, you
may want to think about
palliative care. This is a kind of care for
people who have illnesses that do not go away and often get worse over time. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life—not just in your
body but also in your mind and spirit.
For more information, see
If you have not already made
decisions about the issues that may arise at the end of life, consider doing so
now. Many people find it helpful and comforting to state their health care
choices in writing (with an advance directive such as a living will) while they
are still able to make and communicate these decisions. You may also think
about who you would choose as your health care agent to make and carry out
decisions about your care if you were unable to speak for yourself.
A time may come when
your goals change from treating or curing an illness to maintaining comfort and
dignity. Hospice care health
professionals can provide palliative care and comforting surroundings for
someone who is preparing to die.
For more information, see the