General Care of the Cirrhotic Patient
Cirrhosis is the end stage of a wide variety of chronic liver diseases. It is a histologic term defined by the presence of fibrous septa throughout the liver that divide the hepatic parenchyma into nodules. Clinically, patients can be classified as having compensated or decompensated disease. Compensated cirrhosis implies that the liver can perform vital functions normally. Hepatic decompensation, which is characterized by ascites, variceal bleeding, or hepatic encephalopathy, markedly affects life expectancy. Cirrhosis is a major public health problem; it was the 8th leading cause of death in the USA in 2010. This chapter will describe a case of compensated cirrhosis. We will address the aspects of general cirrhosis care that are important for primary care physicians.
KeywordsLiver Complications Management Decompensation Ascites