My 48 year old wife is currently in the hospital with a diagnosis of Alcoholic Hepatitus. She was sober for over 4-1/2 years, but fell hard off the wagon. She finally quit drinking again about two weeks before the hospitalization, but had already developed jaundice. All the classic symptoms-- fatigue, bleeding, sleep disruptions, etc. Know the normal bilirubin level is about one; her tests came in at 20+. Current treatment (among others) is Lactulose Oral. Questions-- other treatments suggestions? Do people come back from this high toxin level? If so, time frame? Should I begin exploring hospice care? At what bilirubin level do hospitals normally discharde their patients?
This forum is for Hepatitis patients and friends to have "open social conversations about any topic they choose, with the exception of religion and politics".
I see you live the in Bay Area like myself.
*First and foremost, she has to stop drinking forever. Period. She is destroying her liver and killing herself.
* She could be eligible for a life saving liver transplant but only if she shows and proves that she will never drink again. They will not make her eligible for a transplant if they feel she might drink again because there are too many people waiting for a transplant that want to live and there is a very limited supply of organs available. A liver is a gift. Someone died to donate it. It is a life-long commitment for any recipient to care for that gift for the rest of their lives.
* Lactulose is for hepatic encephalopathy. A complication of advanced liver disease. It stops the buildup of toxins in the digestive track that a healthy liver can filter out. These toxins then go through the blood to the brain and cause many cognitive issues (memory loss, confusion, day/night reversal, etc.) including coma. This is a temporary condition and normally takes a few days to get it under control.
* Only the doctors know the true status of your wife's liver disease. Talk to the hepatologist who is in charge of her case. Tell them you want the truth. You can handle it and you need to know. Here in the Bay Area doctors are pretty enlightened about patients rights and your need to know.
* Bilirubin is not the only reason she is hospitalized. Ask the docs when she will be allow to go home. They should have an estimate at least.
If you want to contact me for more information about Bay Area resources for advanced liver disease send me a message.
There are 2 Liver Transplant Centers here in Northern Cal. UCSF and CPMC. Both programs are good. Kaiser patients with advanced liver disease are referred to UCSF. I have cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis C and liver cancer, and am under treatment at UCSF. They have one of the best liver clinics anywhere in the world.
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