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Discharge Instructions for Cirrhosis of the Liver

You have been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is a chronic  liver problem that occurs when liver tissue is destroyed and replaced by scar tissue. Causes of cirrhosis include infection such as viral hepatitis, chronic alcoholism, and genetic diseases. Signs of cirrhosis may be absent or only mild at first, but they usually get progressively worse. Cirrhosis is likely to occur if you have a history of alcohol abuse. Cirrhosis can’t be cured, but it can be treated. More than 3 in 10 people people with cirrhosis are admitted back to the hospital in less than 4 weeks.

Home care Alcoholic beverages with circle and slash on top to indicate don't consume these.

  • Don’t drink alcohol. If you stop drinking now, you will feel better and live longer.

    • Find out about local support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous in the phone book or online at www.aa.org if you have been diagnosed with alcohol abuse or dependence. People with liver disease should not drink alcohol.

    • If alcohol is a problem, ask your doctor about medication that can help you quit drinking.

  • Cut back on salt.

    • Limit canned, dried, packaged, and fast foods.

    • Don’t add salt to your food at the table.

    • Season foods with herbs instead of salt when you cook.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed.

  • Talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements as well as any over the counter medications.

  • Avoid aspirin and other blood-thinning medications.

  • Ask your doctor about what kind of diet you should follow. You may be asked to limit or not eat certain foods. Do not limit your protein intake.

  • Ask your doctor about receiving vaccinations for other viruses that can cause liver diseases.

  • Weigh yourself daily and keep a weight log. If you have a sudden change in weight, call your health care provider.

  • Discuss vitamin supplements and deficiencies with your provider .

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff for lab tests, blood tests for liver cancer, and imaging of your liver (ultrasound every 6 months), and endoscopy to evaluate for varices.

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Fatigue, weakness, or lack of appetite

  • Vomiting (with or without blood)

  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)

  • Itching

  • Swelling in your abdomen or legs

  • Black or tarry stools

  • Skin that bruises easily

  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly

  • Fever

  • Confusion

Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/28/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.