How to Recognise End Stage Liver Failure

When liver disease progresses to the point that the organ no longer can produce important proteins or complete its metabolic functions in the body, then the end stage of liver failure has been reached. When this happens there is not much that can be done and if failure occurs, then it is in the majority of cases fatal. In order to be able to save a patient that has reached this last stage before complete liver failure, it is important to diagnose the condition quickly and start treatment immediately.

One of the biggest problems with end stage liver failure is that the numerous symptoms could all be signs of other medical conditions that are not so life threatening. In fact, many symptoms of liver failure that has reached the final stages are actually quite harmless on its own. These could include restlessness, yawning, itchy skin, a general feeling of being under the weather and breathlessness. However, once more severe symptoms appear together with the mild ones, a doctor will do examinations to see if the liver is functioning properly. More severe signs of liver failure include vomiting, hyperventilating, abdominal pain, distended abdomen, enlarged liver, jaundice, diarrhea and ascites. It is also possible that the patient will fall into a coma. If left untreated, then liver failure is almost always results in death.

In order to determine how far the liver failure has progressed, many tests will have to be run by doctors. These have to be done in a hospital and require extensive lab work. The best evaluations for determining end stage live failure is a CT scan, blood work testing enzymes, proteins and other elements, as well as tests for HIV, ammonia and pregnancy. Certain influences and actions may also be an indication that a patient is suffering from advanced liver failure. This can be excessive use of alcohol, cirrhosis, use of certain medications that cause reactions like liver failure and a previous diagnosis of hepatitis A or B.

The end stage liver failure diagnosis comes when the doctor determines that the organ is no longer or soon will be no longer capable of carrying out its metabolic functions and producing the proteins it is supposed to synthesize. Once this stage has been reached then a liver transplant is the only option, but dialysis may also help.