Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver and poor liver function. It is the last stage of chronic liver disease.


Cirrhosis is the end result of chronic liver damage caused by chronic liver disease. Common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States are:

Less common causes of cirrhosis include:


There may be no symptoms, or symptoms may come on slowly, depending on how well the liver is working.

Early symptoms include:

As liver function worsens, symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

Your doctor will do a physical exam to look for:

You may have the following tests to measure liver function:

Other tests to check for liver damage include:

You might need a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.



Some things you can do to help take care of your liver disease are:



When cirrhosis progresses to end-stage liver disease, a liver transplant may be needed.

Support Groups

You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a liver disease support group whose members share common experiences and problems.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Cirrhosis is caused by scarring of the liver. In most cases, the liver cannot heal or return to normal function once damage is severe. Cirrhosis can lead to serious complications.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

Get emergency medical help right away if you have:


DO NOT drink alcohol heavily. Talk to your health care provider if you are worried about your drinking. Take steps to prevent getting or passing hepatitis B or C.

Review Date: 11/20/2014
Reviewed By: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.