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what does it mean when the doctor says the liver is in critical stage?

my dad has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. we were told there was nothing more the doctors can do. they didn't really explain everything to us. they just said his liver was in critical stage. do we need to talk to a specialist or what?

8 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Talking to a specialist is long over due if your father has cirrhosis and is in the critical stage. That would mean that total liver failure is not far away. There is no cure for cirrhosis other than a liver transplant. Without it, a person cannot survive once the liver is too damaged to keep the body functioning. I have no idea why why the doctor has not referred your dad to a transplant center for evaluation. There might be a reason why a transplant might not be an option, but he needs to definitely find out why it has not been offered. If he has gotten his cirrhosis from alcohol abuse, the first thing the transplant center will require is 6 months of proven sobriety before they will even consider him for a transplant.

    Your dad needs to see a gastroenterologist or hepatologist for his disease. Depending on the cause of the disease, there is not much a doctor can do for cirrhosis other than treat the symptoms. Your dad should avoid drinking any alcohol or take any meds that have a negative effect on the liver. He should also avoid eating salt since fluid retention is a problem and salt only adds to the problem. I hope he can get the help he needs very soon.

    Source(s): liver transplant recipient
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  • 4 years ago


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  • 10 years ago

    There are several stages to the liver when you have a disorder that effects it. You should have him seeing a GI doctor. This doctor specializes in disorders and diseases of the digestive system. This includes the liver. When those other doctors told you that cirrhosis was a critical stage they were right but with the right treatment and depending on what your dad has that effects the liver he might be able to be helped. The liver is the only organ in the body that can rejuvenate itself. With this in mind the liver cells can be healed as long as the disease or disorder can be treated. At this stage a liver transplant is also possible too. The end stage of the liver when it can no longer rejuvenate or heal itself is called necrotic. This means that all of the liver cells are dying and there is just time and the GI doctor will be the only one to listen to now. You can look up the liver at webmd,com or wikipedia and search cirrhosis. Good luck and God Bless

    Source(s): nursing experience
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  • 10 years ago

    Your Dad should be with either a gastroenterologist

    or hepatologist, now. (preferably one who has a

    connection to the Transplant Center...these centers

    sometimes post their doctors names on the website

    they have set up)

    When the liver cells become damaged, through any

    number of different usually follows the

    same course:

    The liver cells are damaged; the immune system

    of the body responds to this and causes inflammation

    inside the liver; the inflammation causes the liver to

    enlarge in size.

    If the cause can be stopped and the inflammation

    treated, then the liver cells may heal and the problem

    can be reversed. However, this is only certain causes,

    like alcohol or chemical exposure. Many causes cannot

    be stopped like hereditary disease, auto immune disease,


    As the inflammation continues on in the liver, the liver

    cells can start to die off and form scar tissue inside

    the liver. This scar tissue can eventually block the flow

    of blood through the liver on its way back to the heart

    and also block the flow of blood to the functioning liver

    cells that are left and they will continue to die off.

    This is then known as Cirrhosis of the liver.

    Only the doctor can determine by blood tests and a

    liver biopsy how far advanced a person is in this disease.

    The liver is a very soft, smooth organ. When inflammation

    occurs and it enlarges, it takes on a spongy texture.

    When cirrhosis occurs, the liver start to shrink in size,

    has a knobby appearance, and takes on a harder texture.

    (the liver is dying inside a live patient).

    Your Dad may be able to go through an evaluation process

    for being placed on the liver transplant list. His doctors

    can refer him to the Transplant Center that is closest to

    your home. If the cause is alcohol or drugs, though...

    he would have to be detoxed from them for a period of

    six months prior to the evaluation.

    I'm going to give you links that may be of some help, that

    you can click on:

    On Cirrhosis:

    On Transplant evaluation and Centers:

    On Living donations:

    Advance directives:

    Doctor directory:

    If your Dad has decided that he doesn't want to have

    a may discuss with the doctor about

    Hospice care at home. You could also get in touch with

    the Area of the AGing in your area...they help disabled

    people at times (besides the elderly).

    Important thing to watch for:

    1) any blood in the sputum,

    vomit, or rectal area is an "emergency" situation.

    The doctors can go in and band vessels

    (portal hypertension with varies) to stop

    this bleeding. Because the liver is no longer able

    to make clotting factors, Cirrhosis patients bruise

    and bleed very easily.

    2)Fluid in the abdominal area (Ascites)can be drained by

    a procedure known as paracentesis. This helps a

    patient be able to be comfortable, breathe easier

    and eat.

    3)Mental confusion, disorientation, sleep pattern

    changes (Encephalopathy) can be helped by

    medications like Lactulose or Xifaxan. It is

    important to take the meds to remove ammonia

    from the body to prevent patient from going into a coma.

    4) Edema, swelling in the legs, feet, etc.

    This is usually helped by trying to remove the

    excess sodium Cirrhosis patients have. Doctor

    start patients on a "Lower" sodium diet, tell

    them how much fluids they are allowed per day

    and give them diuretic pills. Elevating the legs

    helps this swelling...don't massage the legs.

    I hope this information has been of some help to you.

    Best wishes

    Source(s): caregiver to a liver transplant patient
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  • 3 years ago


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  • 10 years ago

    Well..why not find a doctor who can explain it . Has your father abused alcohol in his lifetime? Get a second opinion and if so consider rehab simutaneously with the second opinion.

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  • 10 years ago

    When your liver fails you eventually die.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Yeah, he's gonna die.

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