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Liver Disease Care

Hepatology is a sub-specialty within the Gastroenterology field that is focused on the liver, gallbladder, and biliary tree and the management of their disorders. 

The hepatologists at University of Colorado Hospital are nationally recognized for expertise in liver transplantation indications and pre- and post- transplant management.

To request an appointment, call (720) 848-2280 or go to our online appointments page.

Liver Diseases We Treat

Alcohol-related liver disease

 

  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Laennec’s cirrhosis

 

Autoimmune or inflammatory liver diseases

 

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Autoimmune cholangitis
  • Overlap syndrome
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

 

Biliary tract disease

 

  • Gallstones
  • Cholecystitis
  • Cholangitis
  • Bile duct cancers
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis

 

Fatty Liver

 

  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL)
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

 

Fibrocystic diseases of the liver

 

  • Hepatic cyst
  • Polycystic liver disease
  • Congenital hepatic fibrosis
  • Caroli’s disease
  • Choledochal cyst

 

Genetic liver diseases

 

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Wilson’s disease
  • Glycogen storage disease

     

    Liver Tumors – benign

     

    • Focal nodular hyperplasia
    • Adenoma
    • Hemangioma

     

    Liver Tumors – malignant

     

    • Hepatocellular carcinoma (hepatoma)
    • Cholangiocarcinoma
    • Neuroendocrine tumors
    • Hemangioendothelioma
    • Viral Hepatitis
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Hepatitis C
    • Hepatitis D

    Your Medical Team

    Managing chronic liver disease is a long term proposition. So, finding a care team you trust is crucial.

     

    The liver disease professionals at University of Colorado Hospital are more than just a team, they are family for many of our patients.  From long-term management of chronic liver disease to post-transplant care, our “family” takes care of your family in every aspect that touches the disease including clinical care, financial counseling, nutrition guidance and psychiatric support.

     

    Liver Disease Specialists

     

    Hepatologist – a doctor who specializes in the functions of the liver.

     

    Other Liver Disease Staff

    • Clinical nurse specialist  – an advanced practice nurse whose care focuses on liver disease patients.
    • Registered nurse  – a nurse licensed by the state who conducts medical evaluations, takes patient histories and provides after care for patients with liver disease
    • Dietitian – a specialist in the effects of nutrition and food preparation on the body.

     

    If transplantation is required, an even more extensive team is involved in your on-going care.

     

    Tests and Treatments for Liver Disease

    Tests

     

    Several liver tests are performed routinely as part of general health screening in a comprehensive metabolic panel. If abnormal results come back, further testing may be performed such as enzyme testing or biopsy.


    Liver disease may not cause any symptoms at first or the symptoms may be vague, like weakness and loss of energy.

     

    In acute liver disease, symptoms related to problems handling bilirubin, including yellow skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, and light stools, along with loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common.

     

    Chronic liver disease symptoms may include jaundice, dark urine, abdominal swelling (due to ascites), pruritus, unexplained weight loss or gain, and abdominal pain; these symptoms may not be present until the disease has reached an advanced stage.

     

    Treatments

     

    The body cannot survive without a functioning liver, so it is important that you take care of it through a prudent lifestyle and preventative measures.

     

    Treatment of liver disease involves protecting and supporting remaining liver function, minimizing further damage and complications, and addressing the underlying cause of the damage. It may range from taking specific medications to surgery to, in severe cases, liver transplantation.

     

    Patients who are diagnosed with liver disease will often require long-term monitoring and should talk to their doctors to determine the best treatment options for their condition. Your doctor may treat your liver disease with medication, diet and exercise.

     

    Find out about "triple therapy" at UCH


     

    Patient Education

    Getting a Second Opinion About Liver Disease

     

    Your doctors at University of Colorado Hospital can provide a second opinion if you have questions about the function of your liver.

     

    Additional Liver Disease Resources

     

    American Liver Foundation

    Hep C Connection

     

    Cell research

    Liver Disease at a Glance

    The liver plays an important role in a number of critical body functions, including detoxification, metabolism, and digestion.

    The liver is necessary for survival so it is important for management of chronic liver disease and expertise in management of complications to prevent progression to end stage liver disease (cirrhosis).

    Liver disease, or hepatic disease, is a broad term that covers many problems that may affect the performance of the liver and potentially cause the liver to fail. Any chronic liver disease can lead to cirrhosis. The development of the following major complications are indicators for liver transplantation:

    • Ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
    • Hepatic encephalopathy (build-up of toxins in the brain)
    • Variceal bleeding  (esophagus)
    • Liver cancer

    It is estimated that 10 to 20 million Americans are affected by chronic liver disease, including 5 million affected by Fatty Liver Disease (NASH), 4 million by Hepatitis C, and 1.5 million affected by Hepatitis.

    For those with Hep C: find out about "triple therapy"