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Liver Disease

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Our Approach to Treatment

Houston Methodist and the Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation at Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Transplant Center diagnose, treat and improve liver disease patients’ lives through prevention, early diagnosis and advanced disease management.

The highly skilled liver center staff solely treats patients with liver disease and liver failure, offering specialized care for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis C and liver cancer. We are committed to providing the best possible care for our patients, no matter their disease stage.

Liver Disease Conditions We Treat

  • Hepatitis – liver inflammation that interferes with liver function. It can lead to scarring (cirrhosis). Hepatitis is caused by:
    • Viruses – the leading cause of hepatitis. Each viral hepatitis type has an alphabet designation for the virus that causes it: Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E
  • Autoimmune diseases
    • Primary biliary cirrhosis – slow destruction of liver bile ducts
    • Primary sclerosing cholangitis – a bile duct disease
    • Autoimmune hepatitis – liver inflammation caused by the body’s own cells
  • Genetic diseases
    • Hemochromatosis – the body absorbs more iron than it uses
    • Hyperoxaluria and oxalosis – involves the level of oxalate, a natural chemical found in the body, that is not eliminated by the kidneys
    • Wilson's disease – too much copper is accumulated in the liver, brain and other organs
  • Alcohol and drug use 
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – fat buildup in the liver caused by anything other than alcohol consumption
  • Liver cancer – a disease in which cells in the liver grow out of control.
  • Cirrhosis – liver scarring caused by continuous, long-term liver damage. Scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in the liver and prevents the liver from working properly.

Liver Disease Symptoms

Many liver disease symptoms include:
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Skin yellowing (jaundice)
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Weight loss

Other symptoms include:
  • Confusion – for hepatitis D and cirrhosis
  • Abnormal blood vessels on the skin and rashes – for autoimmune hepatitis
  • Anorexia – for drug-induced hepatitis
  • Fluid accumulation – for alcohol-induced hepatitis

Cirrhosis symptoms include:
  • Foot and abdominal swelling
  • Nighttime sleep difficulty and increased daytime sleeping
  • Vomiting blood
  • Passing bloody, purple or black bowel movements
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle loss

Liver Disease Diagnostics

  • Blood tests
  • Liver biopsy
  • Drug screenings
  • Liver function tests
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Liver Disease Treatments

Depending on the cause, liver disease treatments include:
  • Rest
  • Drinking liquids
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Medications
  • Liver transplant

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