Why Organ Donation

Liver Conditions

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Cancer of the Liver (Primary and Metastatic)

Primary liver cancer:
a disease in which malignant (Cancerous) cells form within the liver. Primary liver cancer is most common in patients who suffer from cirrhosis (Scarring) of the liver. Cirrhosis is most often caused by chronic injury or infections such as hepatitis B and C.

Metastatic liver cancer:
cancer that has spread (Metastasize) to the liver from another area of the body. The liver is a common site of spread for hepatobiliary, Intestine and colon cancers because of the blood flow through the liver from the intestines. In some patients, metastatic liver cancer is discovered at the time of diagnosis of the original cancer. However, in most patients, metastatic liver cancer is discovered months or years after a patient has undergone treatment for cancer in the original location.

Benign tumours/ lesions in the liver:
We also manage a range of liver tumours that are not cancers (Malignant).

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis of the liver occurs after the inflammation and repair of dying liver cells results in scarring of the liver tissue. There are many causes of cirrhosis including toxins such as alcohol, fats and some medicines as well as viruses and genetic factors.

Cirrhosis can be particularly damaging and causes many problems to arise because the liver has many functions and damage to the cells of the liver will impair those functions.

Inherited Metabolic Liver Disorders

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency :
this condition is the genetic form of emphysema. AAT is a protein predominantly made in the liver. An AAT deficiency can lead to lung destruction and is often misdiagnosed as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Hereditary hemochromatosis:
the most common genetic liver disease, commonly diagnosed in adults. This disorder increases the amount of iron absorbed from the gut and excess iron in the liver can cause cirrhosis.

Wilson's disease:
an inherited disease that allows too much copper to accumulate in the body. A healthy liver's job is to dissolve copper when creating bile, and when copper builds up, damage can occur in the liver, brain and eyes of an individual. As an individual ages and copper accumulates, liver disease or a loss of motor skills may develop, among other conditions.

There are many other disorders of the liver which is not possible to discuss here.

Portal Hypertension

This condition is a rise in the blood pressure within a system of veins known as the portal venous system. These veins come from the stomach, pancreas, spleen and intestines and travel to the liver. The rise in pressure is due to cirrhosis, or hardening of the liver. Because the liver is damaged, blood from these organs must find an alternate route around the liver, causing enlargement of the abdominal veins. When enlarged, these veins become fragile. This may result in bleeding or increased fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. Also, without proper blood flow, the liver may lose its ability to properly function.

There are many causes of non-cirrhotic portal hypertension, we manage these conditions as well. We also offer surgery for portal hypertension.

Infections of the liver:
All infections of the liver including hepatitis B and C, acute hepatitis (Usually A and E).
We also treat other infections of the liver like liver abscesses, portal pylephlebitis, portal pyaemia, parasitic infections of the liver like hydatid cysts and schistosomiasis.

At our Centre for Liver and Pancreatic Diseases; the most commonly treated conditions are:

  • Liver Transplantation
  • Acute and chronic viral hepatitis
  • Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E
  • Disorders of metal storage
  • Iron-storage disease (Hemochromatosis)
  • Copper-storage disease (Wilson's Disease)
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Neonatal (Giant Cell) hepatitis
  • Alcoholic liver diseases
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and NASH
  • Auto-immune liver diseases
  • Liver diseases associated with pregnancy
  • Metabolic diseases that may produce disorders of the liver
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Galactosemia
  • Gaucher's Disease
  • Glycogen storage disease
  • Hereditary tyrosinemia
  • Porphyrias
  • Drug- and toxin-induced liver disease
  • Complications of liver disease
  • Ascites, Edema, Encephalopathy, Bleeding from the GI tract, Loss of bone mineral (Osteoporosis)
  • Liver failure
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