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Is Cirrhosis a Death Sentence?
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Is Cirrhosis a Death Sentence?

my friend has hepC and cirrhosis.
was diagnosed with the cirrhosis about 3 1/2 years ago when first diagnosed with hepc.
he was on inter/ riba for three years and just came off two months ago.
Someone told me that cirrhosis is a death sentence and its just a matter of time.
i know its serious, but how serious,,, if they dont get a transplant?
worried...
thanks
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25 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
As I understand it, the medical community generally views cirrhosis as a precursor to HCC.  In other words, it's not a matter of "If" it will advance to cancer, but "When" will it advance.  A TP can often times provide an extension and some recent studies have even indicated may even reduce the viral infection of HCV after the new liver is implanted.

As far as being a death sentence, well one could view driving your car, flying in an airplane, going to school, or simply shopping in an Omaha mall as a death sentence too.

There have been cases where advancement of cirrhosis has been slow, and even fewer yet where some repair of the damage has occurred.  But these seem to be exceptions rather than the norm.

3 1/2 yrs of tx sounds rather long for a inter/riba regiment, are you sure that it wasn't simply a inteferon maintenance program?
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104652_tn?1196603908
yes, it was an unusually long time on tx.
he did come off one time in that 3 1/2 years but then the virus came back and he was put on it again.
the reason i asked this question is because a friend who is an alcohol counselor is telling me..
its a 'death sentence'...and totally bleak outlook.
i thought i would put it to you here, who know best of all.
thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I would ask your friend where they are getting their facts to make such a diagnosis?

There are many means for one to develop cirrhosis, alcohol consumption being one but not the only one, and from what I've seen doctors can sometimes distinguish which source produced the damage, I believe this is based upon patterns of the scarring observed.

All I know is what my doctor, who is a liver specialist who was involved in the pioneering research for HCV treaments and is now specializing in and is head of the department for liver transplantation at the U of MN, told me and while not the "bed of roses" many would like, was certainly not a "gloom and doom"/"death sentence" pessimist since the rate of progression can not be predicted and I may very well get hit by a bus before cirrhosis advances to HCC and require a transplant or else.

The key is to monitor and catch advancement when it occurs so the TP option is available.
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163305_tn?1333672171
A friend's uncle had it for at least 20 years before dying in an accident.
Life is a death sentence!

Your friend needs to take good care of his liver. For years they claimed cirrhosis was irreversable. That is no longer accepted as truth. Livers can and do regenerate.
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104652_tn?1196603908
actually i think this source/ alcohol counselor was all doom and gloom...
and black and white on the issue.
thats why i brought the question here for your feedback
thanks ..and hey..we can use all the hope we can get in life!
and i agree...anything can happen anytime to anyone anywhere.
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233616_tn?1312790796
if he takes care, no drinking no smoking, especially no pot, and eats well he could live 10 years with cirrosis (cirrhosis), plenty on possible time for a transplant to become available.

However you did share his history before......IF he continues to smoke pot etc, which is tracable in blood tests, he may disqualify himself from being possible a transplant patient. Since so much is known of the harm done, the criteria for transplantation can include personal care and drug usage as it effects likelihood of survivalbility and rejection ratios as well. Ergo someone drinking or smoking does not stand a good chance of being recommended for transplant. they are already engaging in behavior known to harm and destroy the liver, making it unlikely they would treat their new liver with much care either...hence they would, or certainly should, go to the bottom of the list.

I hope he snaps out of it. It's not all doom and gloom, but a shrink is not a hepatologist...they kknow next to nothing on this topic.

there are quite a few treads on what one can do to improve ones liver health....let us know if you want some of that material.
Mary
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315996_tn?1321809719

Maybe, just maybe the couselor was trying to scare him into cleaning up. Maybe.

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104652_tn?1196603908
hi MerryBe,
yes , he smokes pot non stop...and im sure it cant be good for his liver, let alone his lungs, etc.
sometimes i guess the addictions are more profound than anything..and hepC, cirrhosis, and all..
some people just cant stop.
and scratchinghead.....good guess on the counselor , but she doesnt know him at all.
she is a friend of mine and she was simply discussing the very seriousness of the condition.
thanks for your posts.
prayers to all..espcially you my friend Merrybe
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Avatar_m_tn
What is your source for your assertion that smoking pot would preclude a person from receiving a liver transplant? I have never seen anything which suggests that and, in fact, when I asked my transplant center about it I was told that no one had ever been denied a liver transplant because they smoked pot. It might sound politically correct and, maybe even intuitive, but I haven't seen anything to support your statement. Mike
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148588_tn?1405690829
Among her other gems merryBe has also stated that smoking pot is worse for your liver than drinking.

I think I've discovered the source of her assertions:

http:youtube.com/watch?v=3rTthxiDsbQ

(Warning: Adult content)
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92903_tn?1309908311
I have cirrhosis and I don't smoke pot. I saw a new hepatologist recently for routine follow-up - new because of an insurance change. She did the prelim questioning, and asked 'No drug use?" I confirmed not, then she said, "I mean I don't cae if you smake pot... but I have to ask...."

  
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92903_tn?1309908311
BTW - Funny youtube
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250084_tn?1303311035


   LMAO.....that is too funny, LMAO. I am sending it to all my pot head friends! But I'll tell them to smoke a joint first, LOL.

(NOT to make light of this thread AT ALL! Just a funny video, sorry.)

                                                                       LL
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250084_tn?1303311035

  My sons father was given 5 years to live with cirrhosis..........14 years ago! At only 40 yrs. old!
He was a drinker (now wonder if he had Hep C and didn't tell me!! I left him. took the kids because of his drinking! ) but he immediatly stopped drinking, cleaned up his life. I have not talked to him in several years, my lack of trying, but do know he's still kicking.
Your friend must make his choice to clean up his life in this.......if he wants to live longer.
Your a good friend to worry tho, now nag his arse off to clean up, live healthy :}

                                                                                        LL
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Avatar_m_tn
Now that was funny. You may be right about the source though, and that is somewhat troubling. Mike
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206807_tn?1331939784
actually i think this source/ alcohol counselor was all doom and gloom...
and black and white on the issue.

I may have missed something here. I didn’t know an Alcohol Councilors are now authorities on Hepatitis C and Liver Conditions
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Avatar_m_tn
We talk so much about new treatments coming I wonder how many studies/trials are being done on stopping the liver damage vs killing the virus because it seems to me that even though there are other problems with having HCV the liver damage is the worst by far and how many people would really put themselves thru all thos treatment if you could keep your liver in fine shape??
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350279_tn?1208017145
I have read many off the wall comments in this thread.
Cirrhosis is NOT a death sentence, people live decades as a survivor. Of course, you must help by stopping drinking or drugs. If you don't, it will be a death sentence. Alcoholic liver disease is the hardest to survive.  
Cirrhosis is NOT a sure step to HCC.
Just stop what you have been doing to your liver in the past. Eat healthy, limit fat consumption.I've had HepC since 1972 Dx. in 1989. Have be cirrhotic since 1995.
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Avatar_f_tn
My grandmother, who drank at most a glass or two of beer a month, had cirrhosis for at least twenty years before her death - of other causes - at the age of 81.  Nobody knew about healthy diets in those days, and my grandmother was a great believer in the curative effects of butter and cream, so she did nothing special about her cirrhosis except ignore it.
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86075_tn?1238118691
have a friend, still with hep c after 3 times at treatment, who is going on her 14th year with cirrhosis, still taking care of her kid, getting on with her life, hopes to try again with the PI's in a trial or once they are available to all...no, it's not a death sentence if you take good care of yourself....have another friend who is a plumber, also 3 tries at treatment, last with infergin(?) who has had this since Vietnam (a vet) and he just biopsied out at still a stage 3! he wants to do the PI's when they come available too, and he is feeling alright...oddly enough, he had more trouble with the virus when he was years younger...he's 63 now....
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Avatar_n_tn
My mom has just been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. I'm scared out of my mind and am thankful for some of the uplifting posts on this forum. I too thought this was a death sentence, but after reading some of these testimonies it gives me more hope than ever.
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29837_tn?1314410659
I have a friend who has had it for 13 years and is still working. She's not as strong as she would like to be, but she is controlling it with proper diet, no drinking, smoking or other bad habits.

Magnum
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467897_tn?1240255437
Me too - I had one of those counselors' tell me there was no pain from hepc or related organs - like my cirrhotic stage. Asked how she knew all about the liver & it's diseases, her reply was ". . . my mother had it and died from hep c . . ."  Now I can understand her loss but thankfully also see the humor in her comments and I have you guys to thank!! Tons of thanks to this forum!!!
SuzyQ
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Avatar_m_tn
Not sure about other transplant centers, but there was a well publicized case here in Seattle in which a local musician was denied a transplant because of pot use.  He died from complications of cirrhosis.  Sad thing was that he had a prescription for weed. Here's a link to an interesting article that discusses the issue:
http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=25173
All of the Gastroenterologists and Hepatologists I have seen here have lectured me about the harms of pot smoking.  It looks like there is considerable variation on how the issue is handled.
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233616_tn?1312790796
sorry  I didn't see you question back in DEc, but for the record, my info comes from my clinic doctor and NP who are pretty up on the changing criteria. Air bags and the increase in HCV detection are skyrocketing the demand for livers and the rate I most recently read was there will be one for every 18 needed in another 5 years or so.

Whatever the rate one thing remains static, the physician has to advocate for the patient to become a TP candidate. Someone who did not know about pot or alcohol causing it (with alcohol that would be hard to beleieve) but assuming ignorance one might not be disqualified but a patient who had been informed would be viewed differently, just a severe late stage alcoholic is not viewed as a good candidate, now the same has become true of pot smokers. This is because of the studies which you know have been posted in here many times suggesting rates of fibrosis 7 times greater for pot smokers than for alcoholics. Meaning those who smoke weed after a transplant are more likely to suffer early organ failure than those that drink.

that's as well as I can explain it.

If you kike, you can write my doctor and ask him why the transplants in the NW are being handled this way. By his credentials I think you can see that he knows a bit on the subject, so if you still think I'm steering folks wrong or making things up after contacting him, please let us all know.

I should say the lions share of the warning given in the 2 hour clinic class for new patients was devoted almost exclusively to the new information about how much more deliterious pot was even to alcohol.

So either my doctor and all the research is wrong here Mike, or you are unimformed of the recent changes in this one area.

here;s my docs credentials BTW.....feel free to call my clinc and ask about it.

http://www.oregonclinic.com/physician.aspx?pid=7

mb
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