Items in AFP with MESH term: Liver Cirrhosis

Preventive Strategies in Chronic Liver Disease: Part II. Cirrhosis - Article

ABSTRACT: Cirrhosis is a diffuse process characterized by fibrosis and the conversion of normal liver architecture into structurally abnormal nodules. The modified Child-Pugh score, which ranks the severity of cirrhosis based on signs and liver function test results, has been shown to predict survival. Strategies have been established to prevent complications in patients with cirrhosis. Esophageal varices can be identified by endoscopy; if large varices are present, prophylactic nonselective beta blocker therapy should be administered. Alpha-fetoprotein testing and ultrasonography can be effective in screening for hepatocellular carcinoma. Vaccines should be administered to prevent secondary infections. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided, and patients should maintain a balanced diet containing 1 to 1.5 g of protein per kg per day. An extensive assessment should be performed before patients with cirrhosis undergo elective surgery. Before advanced liver decompensation occurs, patients should be referred for liver transplantation evaluation. If advanced cirrhosis is present and transplantation is not feasible, survival is between one and two years.


Hepatitis B - Article

ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. More than 400 million persons, including 1.25 million Americans, have chronic hepatitis B. In the United States, chronic hepatitis B virus infection is responsible for about 5,000 annual deaths from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis B virus is found in body fluids and secretions; in developed countries, the virus is most commonly transmitted sexually or via intravenous drug use. Occupational exposure and perinatal transmission do occur but are rare in the United States. Effective vaccines for hepatitis B virus have been available since 1982; infant and childhood vaccination programs introduced in the 1990s have resulted in a marked decrease in new infections. Risk factors for progression to chronic infection include age at the time of infection and impaired immunity. From 15 to 30 percent of patients with acute hepatitis B infection progress to chronic infection. Medical therapies for chronic hepatitis B include interferon alfa-2b, lamivudine, and the nucleotide analog adefovir dipivoxil.


Cirrhosis and Chronic Liver Failure: Part II. Complications and Treatment - Article

ABSTRACT: Major complications of cirrhosis include ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatic encephalopathy, portal hypertension, variceal bleeding, and hepatorenal syndrome. Diagnostic studies on ascitic fluid should include a differential leukocyte count, total protein level, a serum-ascites albumin gradient, and fluid cultures. Therapy consists of sodium restriction, diuretics, and complete abstention from alcohol. Patients with ascitic fluid polymorphonuclear leukocyte counts of 250 cells per mm3 or greater should receive empiric prophylaxis against spontaneous bacterial peritonitis with cefotaxime and albumin. Patients who survive an episode of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis should receive long-term prophylaxis with norfloxacin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. Patients with gastrointestinal hemorrhage and cirrhosis should receive norfloxacin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole twice daily for seven days. Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy is directed toward improving mental status levels with lactulose; protein restriction is no longer recommended. Patients with cirrhosis and evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding should undergo upper endoscopy to evaluate for varices. Endoscopic banding is the standard treatment, but sclerotherapy with vasoconstrictors (e.g., octreotide) also may be used. Prophylaxis with propranolol is recommended in patients with cirrhosis once varices have been identified. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt has been effective in reducing portal hypertension and improving symptoms of hepatorenal syndrome, and can reduce gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with refractory variceal hemorrhage. When medical therapy for treatment of cirrhosis has failed, liver transplantation should be considered. Survival rates in transplant recipients have improved as a result of advances in immunosuppression and proper risk stratification using the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease and Child-Turcotte-Pugh scoring systems.


Cirrhosis and Chronic Liver Failure: Part I. Diagnosis and Evaluation - Article

ABSTRACT: Cirrhosis and chronic liver failure are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States, with the majority of preventable cases attributed to excessive alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Cirrhosis often is an indolent disease; most patients remain asymptomatic until the occurrence of decompensation, characterized by ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatic encephalopathy, or variceal bleeding from portal hypertension. Physical examination of patients with cirrhosis may reveal a variety of findings that necessitate a hepatic- or gastrointestinal-based work-up to determine the etiology. Some patients already may have had laboratory or radiographic tests that incidentally uncovered signs of cirrhosis and its comorbidities. No serologic or radiographic test can accurately diagnose cirrhosis. A significant correlation has been demonstrated between persistently elevated liver function tests and biopsy-proven underlying hepatic disease; thus, a more targeted serologic work-up is indicated in patients whose liver function test results are persistently abnormal. Unnecessary medications and surgical procedures should be avoided in patients with cirrhosis. Referral for liver biopsy should be considered only after a thorough, non-invasive serologic and radiographic evaluation has failed to confirm a diagnosis of cirrhosis; the benefit of biopsy outweighs the risk; and it is postulated that biopsy will have a favorable impact on the treatment of chronic liver disease.


Probability of Cirrhosis in Patients with Hepatitis C - Point-of-Care Guides


Proximal White Finger Nails - Photo Quiz


Causes and Evaluation of Mildly Elevated Liver Transaminase Levels - Article

ABSTRACT: Mild elevations in levels of the liver enzymes alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase are commonly discovered in asymptomatic patients in primary care. Evidence to guide the diagnostic workup is limited. If the history and physical examination do not suggest a cause, a stepwise evaluation should be initiated based on the prevalence of diseases that cause mild elevations in transaminase levels. The most common cause is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which can affect up to 30 percent of the population. Other common causes include alcoholic liver disease, medication-associated liver injury, viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), and hemochromatosis. Less common causes includea1-antitrypsin deficiency, autoimmune hepatitis, and Wilson disease. Extrahepatic conditions (e.g., thyroid disorders, celiac disease, hemolysis, muscle disorders) can also cause elevated liver transaminase levels. Initial testing should include a fasting lipid profile; measurement of glucose, serum iron, and ferritin; total iron-binding capacity; and hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis C virus antibody testing. If test results are normal, a trial of lifestyle modification with observation or further testing for less common causes is appropriate. Additional testing may include ultrasonography; measurement of a1-antitrypsin and ceruloplasmin; serum protein electrophoresis; and antinuclear antibody, smooth muscle antibody, and liver/kidney microsomal antibody type 1 testing. Referral for further evaluation and possible liver biopsy is recommended if transaminase levels remain elevated for six months or more.


Cirrhosis: Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention - Article

ABSTRACT: Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounted for 29,165 deaths in 2007, with a mortality rate of 9.7 per 100,000 persons. Alcohol abuse and viral hepatitis are the most common causes of cirrhosis, although nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is emerging as an increasingly important cause. Primary care physicians share responsibility with specialists in managing the most common complications of the disease, screening for hepatocellular carcinoma, and preparing patients for referral to a transplant center. Patients with cirrhosis should be screened for hepatocellular carcinoma with imaging studies every six to 12 months. Causes of hepatic encephalopathy include constipation, infection, gastrointestinal bleeding, certain medications, electrolyte imbalances, and noncompliance with medical therapy. These should be sought and managed before instituting the use of lactulose or rifaximin, which is aimed at reducing serum ammonia levels. Ascites should be treated initially with salt restriction and diuresis. Patients with acute episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding should be monitored in an intensive care unit, and should have endoscopy performed within 24 hours. Physicians should also be vigilant for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Treating alcohol abuse, screening for viral hepatitis, and controlling risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are mechanisms by which the primary care physician can reduce the incidence of cirrhosis.


Gynecomastia - Article

ABSTRACT: Gynecomastia is defined as benign proliferation of glandular breast tissue in men. Physiologic gynecomastia is common in newborns, adolescents, and older men. It is self-limited, but can be treated to minimize emotional distress and physical discomfort. Nonphysiologic gynecomastia may be caused by chronic conditions (e.g., cirrhosis, hypogonadism, renal insufficiency); use of medications, supplements, or illicit drugs; and, rarely, tumors. Discontinuing use of contributing medications and treating underlying disease are the mainstay of treatment. Medications, such as estrogen receptor modulators, and surgery have a role in treating gynecomastia in select patients. Treatment should be pursued early and should be directed by the patient.


Hereditary Hemochromatosis - Article

ABSTRACT: Hereditary hemochromatosis is an autosomal recessive disorder that disrupts the body’s regulation of iron. It is the most common genetic disease in whites. Men have a 24-fold increased rate of iron-overload disease compared with women. Persons who are homozygous for the HFE gene mutation C282Y comprise 85 to 90 percent of phenotypically affected persons. End-organ damage or clinical manifestations of hereditary hemochromatosis occur in approximately 10 percent of persons homozygous for C282Y. Symptoms of hereditary hemochromatosis are nonspecific and typically absent in the early stages. If present, symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, arthralgias, and impotence. Later manifestations include arthralgias, osteoporosis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular cancer, cardiomyopathy, dysrhythmia, diabetes mellitus, and hypogonadism. Diagnosis requires confirmation of increased serum ferritin levels and transferrin saturation, with or without symptoms. Subtyping is based on genotypic expression. Serum ferritin measurement is the most useful prognostic indicator of disease severity. Liver biopsy is performed to stage the degree of fibrosis with severe ferritin elevation or transaminitis, or to diagnose nonclassical hereditary hemochromatosis in patients with other genetic defects. Treatment of hereditary hemochromatosis requires phlebotomy, and the frequency is guided by serial measurements of serum ferritin levels and transferrin saturation. Iron avidity can result from overtreatment. If iron avidity is not suspected, it may mimic undertreatment with persistently elevated transferrin saturation. Dietary modification is generally unnecessary. Universal screening for hereditary hemochromatosis is not recommended, but testing should be performed in first-degree relatives of patients with classical HFE-related hemochromatosis, those with evidence of active liver disease, and patients with abnormal iron study results. Screening for hepatocellular carcinoma is reserved for those with hereditary hemochromatosis and cirrhosis.



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