Cirrhosis can cause irreversible damage

The most common causes of cirrhosis are chronic alcohol abuse, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH), and liver viruses such as hepatitis B and C.2 In cirrhosis, normal liver tissue is destroyed and replaced by scarring. Scar tissue cannot perform the tasks of a healthy liver, so the function is severely compromised. Once liver tissue is destroyed and replaced by scarring, the damage is usually irreversible.3

Early identification increases chances of healing

Identifying the stage of the disease is key for the prognosis because the sooner liver damage is recognised, the more quickly and effectively you can be treated.1 Regular examinations by a doctor are particularly important. You should also aim for a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding alcohol. Your healthcare team may recommend other interventions too, such as antibiotics or certain vaccinations.4

Prognosis for liver cirrhosis

Different scoring systems are available to allow doctors to assess the prognosis of liver disease. Examples include the Child-Pugh score and the MELD score. These scores are used to predict survival and also to help decide which patients need a liver transplant.1

Cirrhosis life expectancy

Globally, cirrhosis is the leading cause of liver-related deaths. Advanced cirrhosis is generally considered irreversible, but with early-stage cirrhosis, patients may have a similar life expectancy to healthy adults, providing their condition does not worsen.5

Cirrhosis mortality varies globally

Liver cirrhosis is a significant health issue worldwide, with over one million attributed deaths globally in 2010. Mortality can vary depending on your country. For example, in 2010, according to one analysis, mortality rates fell in China, France and Italy, but rose by about a third in the United Kingdom. Mortality rates were also relatively high in Central Asian countries, including Mongolia and Uzbekistan, and some parts of sub-Saharan Africa.6

There is also an annual 2-6% risk of developing liver cancer for patients with hepatitis C-related cirrhosis.7

Ist Leberzirrhose ein Todesurteil

The earlier liver damage is recognised the better it can be treated.


  1. Tsochatzis E A, et al. The Lancet. Liver cirrhosis. May 2014. 383:9930(1749-1761)
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institute for Health. Symptoms and Causes of Cirrhosis. Available at: Last accessed: October 2020.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. Cirrhosis Symptoms & Causes. Available at: Last accessed: November 2020.
  4. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. Cirrhosis Diagnosis & Treatment. Available at: Last accessed: November 2020
  5. GBD 2017 Cirrhosis Collaborators. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. The global, regional, and national burden of cirrhosis by cause in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Jan 2020. 5: 245–66
  6. Mokdad A, et al. BMC Medicine. Liver cirrhosis mortality in 187 countries between 1980 and 2010: a systematic analysis. 2014, 12:145
  7. de Oliveria Andrade LJ, D’Oliveira A, Melo RC, De Souza EC, Costa Silva CA, Paraná R. Association between hepatitis C and hepatocellular carcinoma. J Glob Infect Dis. 2009;1(1):33-37.

May 2021. GL-HEP-XIF-2000185

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