Diseases that affect the liver are very serious medical conditions. Unlike those suffering from kidney failure, in which dialysis is an option, a person without a functioning liver will not survive. Chronic liver disease can eventually lead to end stage liver disease (ESLD), for which the only treatment is orthotropic liver transplantation. The Intermountain Transplant Center’s hepatologists aggressively treat many liver diseases to prevent their progression and eventual liver failure. Below is a short list of the most common liver diseases that cause ESLD, along with links to more information:
- Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): HCV can attack the liver and cause cirrhosis, liver failure, and even liver cancer, although not all people with HCV develop ESLD.
- Autoimmune Hepatitis: The body's immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).
- Alcoholic Cirrhosis: Due to heavy alcohol abuse, the liver suffers chronic injury and scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue causing the liver to malfunction.
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC): PSC causes damage to bile ducts inside the liver that can become blocked, and bile builds up in the liver and damages liver cells. PSC leads to cirrhosis.
- Primary Biliary Cirrhosis: Although not always caused by PSC, this is damage to the liver caused by blockage of bile ducts and a buildup of bile.
- Acute Hepatitis: A sudden onset of inflammation in the liver. There are many causes for acute hepatitis, one of which is overdose of acetaminophen.
- Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC/Liver Cancer): Cancerous hepatocytes (liver cells) form a tumor in the liver. These can cause liver failure, and can break away from the original tumor and cause cancer in other parts of the body.
- National Transplant Assistance Fund: Provides emergency one-time grants for patients that have had a transplant.
- Social Security: Financial assistance for patients who will be disabled for at least a year and have enough “work credits.” SSI and SSDI.
- Cameron Siemers Foundation for Hope: Provides $5000 grant if you are between the ages of 18-28 and have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness, to be used in the fulfillment of a dream, goal, or project that you take on to make a difference.
- Rx Outreach: Provides deeply discounted mail order medications; 90 and 180 day supplies for many medications.
- Rx Assist: Quick and easy-to-use database of all medication patient assistance programs. If you have trouble paying for a medication, then you can do a quick search to find out if there might be an assistance program to help.