Cardiac cirrhosis is a liver condition caused by chronic heart failure. In patients with this condition, the liver is damaged as a result of interruptions to the bloodflow, and fibrous deposits begin to develop. Although it is referred to as cirrhosis, it does not necessarily meet the diagnostic criteria for cirrhosis, and it is important to note that this condition is not caused by alcohol abuse. People with cardiac cirrhosis can be treated in a number of ways, sometimes in a hospital setting and sometimes on an outpatient basis, depending on the nature of a patient's condition.
In people with heart failure, the entire cardiovascular system is disrupted and this can lead to a cascade of symptoms, including congestive hepatopathy, where pressure in the blood vessels inside the liver increases, leading to congestion. This damages the liver cells, creating a distinctive speckled appearance on a cellular level. Liver cells start to die, fibrous deposits develop, and the patient can develop cardiac cirrhosis.
Ideally, this condition should be prevented before onset with treatment of heart conditions. People in heart failure can be monitored for signs of complications and treatment for heart failure can relieve the strain on the internal organs. Treatments can include medications and surgery, depending on the underlying cause of the heart failure and the patient's general level of health. If early damage to the liver has occurred, treatment should prevent increases in severity.
Some patients do not experience health problems as a result of cardiac cirrhosis, and as long as the underlying heart condition is managed, they may not need additional care. Other treatment options include the use of diuretics to lower blood pressure and volume, reducing the strain on the liver, and surgery. Diet and exercise regimens can also help improve the patient's condition and may be undertaken under the direction of a general physician, physical therapist, or nutritionist.
This condition is more common in older adults, as they are at increased risk of heart failure. Liver dysfunction can become a serious medical issue, as an impaired liver is less capable of metabolizing chemical compounds. The liver plays an important role in metabolizing a number of medications and people with liver damage may be less tolerant of some drugs in addition to being less capable of consuming alcohol safely. People with cardiac cirrhosis should be monitored closely for signs of liver dysfunction and their treatment should be adjusted accordingly if issues develop.