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(sərō`səs), degeneration of tissue in an organ resulting in fibrosis, with nodule and scar formation. The term is most often used in relation to the liver, because that organ is most often involved in cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver interferes with the liver's metabolism of nutrients, detoxification of the blood, bile production, and other normal functions (see liverliver,
largest glandular organ of the body, weighing about 3 lb (1.36 kg). It is reddish brown in color and is divided into four lobes of unequal size and shape. The liver lies on the right side of the abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm.
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); its damage is irreversible.

The most prevalent form of cirrhosis of the liver, portal cirrhosis, appears most often in middle-aged males with a history of chronic alcoholismalcoholism,
disease characterized by impaired control over the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcoholism is a serious problem worldwide; in the United States the wide availability of alcoholic beverages makes alcohol the most accessible drug, and alcoholism is the most
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 and is caused in part by protein deficiency (specifically choline), a type of malnutrition common in alcoholics. Protein deprivation is also responsible for kwashiorkorkwashiorkor
, protein deficiency disorder of children. It is prevalent in overpopulated parts of the world where the diet consists mainly of starchy vegetables, particularly in sections of Africa, Central and South America, and S Asia.
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, a nutritional deficiency with symptoms resembling those of cirrhosis of the liver. A major cause of cirrhosis worldwide is infection by the hepatitishepatitis
, inflammation of the liver. There are many types of hepatitis. Causes include viruses, toxic chemicals, alcohol consumption, parasites and bacteria, and certain drugs.
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 B virus. Biliary cirrhosis is a type caused by disruption of bile flow and is more common in women. Other causes include schistosomiasisschistosomiasis
, bilharziasis
, or snail fever,
parasitic disease caused by blood flukes, trematode worms of the genus Schistosoma. Three species are human parasites: S. mansoni, S. japonicum, and S. haematobium.
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 and hemochromatosis, a hereditary iron storage disease.

Failure of liver function results in ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity), increased albumin and blood protein, gastrointestinal disturbances, bleeding, emaciation, portal hypertension, enlargement of the liver and spleen, jaundice, edemaedema
, abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body tissues or in the body cavities causing swelling or distention of the affected parts. Edema of the ankles and lower legs (in ambulatory patients) is characteristic of congestive heart failure, but it can accompany other
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, and obstruction of the venous circulation with distention of the veins. It is not uncommon for greatly distended veins in the esophagus to rupture and cause massive hemorrhage. Treatment is first aimed at any reversible underlying disease. Supportive measures include avoidance of alcohol, a diet with adequate protein, vitamin supplements, transfusions to replace any blood loss, and removal of accumulated fluid. Beta-blockersbeta-blocker
or beta-adrenergic blocking agent
, drug that reduces the symptoms connected with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, migraine headaches, and other disorders related to the sympathetic nervous system.
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, such as propranolol, have been shown to be effective in reducing the rate of gastrointestinal bleeding, one of the most lethal complications of cirrhosis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



cicatricial shrinkage and deformity of an organ caused by infectious diseases, poisonings, metabolic disturbances, and other factors. Cirrhosis mostly affects parenchymatous organs, for example, the liver (which acquires a yellowish color as a result), the kidneys (nephrocirrhosis), and lungs (interstitial pneumonia). The morphological manifestations of cirrhosis include degeneration and necrosis of parenchymatous elements, distorted regeneration, diffuse proliferation of connective tissues (sclerosis), and structural reorganization and deformity of the organ. Chronic functional insufficiency of the affected organ is one of the main clinical symptoms. Since the proliferation of connective tissues may be due to a variety of factors, a distinction is made between postnecrotic, inflammatory, angiogenic, and metabolic forms of cirrhosis. The disease is believed to be reversible in its early stages.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A progressive, inflammatory disease of the liver characterized by a real or apparent increase in the proportion of hepatic connective tissue.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any of various progressive diseases of the liver, characterized by death of liver cells, irreversible fibrosis, etc.: caused by inadequate diet, excessive alcohol, chronic infection, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The most predominant cause of cirrhosis of liver in this study was alcoholism with 73% of the study population being alcoholics.
Cirrhosis of liver is the consequence of hepatic fibrosis mostly caused by chronic infection with hepatitis B and C viruses and is common in Pakistan1-3.
A 36-year-old male patient suffering from Wilson's disease with cirrhosis of liver and generalized anasarca developed painful, erythematous lesions over lower anterior abdominal wall and both thighs.
After clearance from institutional ethics committee, we included consecutively 50 adult patients of cirrhosis of liver. Written consent was obtained from each individual participating in the study.
Patients with cirrhosis of liver had significantly inferior response to treatment as compared with patients without cirrhosis (p value <0.
The study was conducted on 70 indoor patients of nonalcoholic cirrhosis of liver admitted to PG Department of Medicine of SCB Medical College, Cuttack, over 1 year.
Cirrhosis of liver: Etiological factors, complications and prognosis.
A strong relation was found between cardiomyopathy and severity of cirrhosis of liver (p=0.001), pr0-Bnp levels (p=0.003), QTc greater than 44 sec (0.004), Ejection fraction greater than 55% (0.004) and E/A ratio less than 1 (p=0.005).
Clinical cirrhosis was defined as a patient having at least one sign of hepatocellular failure, [6] one of portal hypertension [7] along with at least three ultrasound findings suggestive of cirrhosis of liver [8,9] and/or liver biopsy evidence of cirrhosis in permissible cases.
Severe hyponatremia 72(36%) patients Moderate hyponatremia 63(31.5%) Mild hyponatremia 65(32.5%) patients The most common underlying predisposing factor for hyponatraemia in our case series was sepsis (26%) followed by gastrointestinal fluid loss (15.5%), diabetic ketoacidosis (10%) and cirrhosis of liver (10%).
To determine the Prevalence of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and variants in patients of cirrhosis of liver with ascites.
Cirrhosis of liver results in disorganisation of the lobular and vascular architecture.