Anyone know anything about Cirrhosis, gall stones or anemia? (OT)

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AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033
Anyone know anything about Cirrhosis, gall stones or anemia? (OT)

I've been googling and searching and though there is a wealth of information out there, I'm not finding any of it the least bit helpful at this point.

I need to know about specific symptoms at different stages of Cirrhosis of the liver. I also need to know what it means if after being given multiple units of blood and plasma over the course of multiple days, a person still has anemia severe enough that they can't have surgery.

I can't figure out a specific prognosis for someone whose liver isn't functioning, has severe anemia that's not getting better despite treatment. My thoughts are that if a person has anemia that is unresponsive to treatment along with a non-functioning liver then they are in a dire situation, but I can't find information that helps back this up or refute this.

laurensmitty1982's picture
Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 1117

I know a little about anemia. I was treated for it, but the pills didnt work.. Thats about as far I as got because I was pregnant when this was happening.. I know you can treat it with foods.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

"laurensmitty1982" wrote:

I know a little about anemia. I was treated for it, but the pills didnt work.. Thats about as far I as got because I was pregnant when this was happening.. I know you can treat it with foods.

My dad has received blood transfusions and and 4 or 5 units of plasma in the last week in an attempt to treat his anemia (low red blood cell count). It's not working. His RBC count will go up and then immediately go back down again. He's been told he can't have surgery until his RBC's are up and stay up.

Joined: 06/22/10
Posts: 5602

Anna, is any of his helpful? i will try to find more after when i don't have a monkey banging on the keyboard and trying to get my attention

What Are the Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver?

The symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver vary with the stage of the illness. In the beginning stages, there may not be any symptoms. As the disease worsens, symptoms may include:

* Loss of appetite.
* Lack of energy (fatigue) which may be debilitating.
* Weight loss or sudden weight gain.
* Bruises.
* Yellowing of skin or the whites of eyes (jaundice).
* Itchy skin.
* Fluid retention (edema) and swelling in the ankles, legs, and abdomen (often an early sign).
* A brownish or orange tint to the urine.
* Light colored stools.
* Confusion, disorientation, personality changes.
* Blood in the stool.
* Fever.

Stages of Cirrhosis of the Liver

Compensated Stage
The compensated stage is the first of the two liver cirrhosis stages. In the compensated stage, disease progression and liver functioning deterioration is stealthy and shows very few noticeable symptoms. Liver function tests may even show normal enzyme levels. This is the reason why this stage is known as 'compensated stage', as the body tries to compensate on its own for all the shortcomings that are brought on by malfunctioning of the liver. At this stage, without a biopsy, it is almost impossible to identify this condition, as this stage progresses in a nearly asymptomatic manner. During this stage, the symptoms seen, if at all, are usually very mild and general, due to which there is a tendency of the patient to pass this stage without knowing of it easily.

Some of the most common liver cirrhosis symptoms experienced by the patient could be fatigue, extreme thirst, thick coating on the dorsal surface of the tongue, anorexia, nausea, abdominal bloating, and dull ache in the liver area. This would signify a transition from one of the liver cirrhosis stages to another. However, as the disease progresses, liver function begins to deteriorate till it reaches a noticeable phase. Thus, as liver functions further deteriorates and the portal vein pressure increases, these symptoms may worsen and new and more serious symptoms may start showing. These new symptoms and physical signs include those such as spider moles, liver shrinkage, jaundice, edema, ascites, liver palms and low-grade fever could start to show.

Decompensated Stage
The decompensated stage of cirrhosis is one of the last liver cirrhosis stages. In this stage, the liver is extensively scarred and unable to function properly. People who develop decompensated liver cirrhosis tend to eventually suffer from complications that can prove to be life-threatening. Patients with decompensated stage generally have worsening of symptoms like severe fatigue, exhaustion, loss of appetite, stomach pain and cramps, easy bruising and bleeding (especially in the abdominal region), etc. Other complications include portal hypertension, kidney dysfunction and accumulation of fluid in the body. There may even be loss of bone mass and a drop in the bone density. Spleen enlargement, and hardening of liver may also occur. In the end stages of cirrhosis of the liver, there may be impaired liver functioning with loss of the ability of the body to detoxify itself, due to which there is concentration of toxins in the body leading to sever confusion, which may lead to a coma.

The unfortunate fact regarding liver cirrhosis is that irrespective of whichever liver cirrhosis stages the liver may be in, this is an irreversible condition. Hence, all aspects of the treatment involve only prevention of further progression of the disease. Of all the types of cirrhosis, alcoholic cirrhosis is known to have the worst prognosis, when compared to primary biliary cirrhosis or cirrhosis brought on by hepatitis.

KittyRN's picture
Joined: 02/03/09
Posts: 1260

Hi Anna

I work on a surgical floor so I have seen similar cases where people have not been able to have surgery due to anemia, and often have seen cases that do not respond. They will likely try their best to get his blood values up, but your Dad may have something going on that will inhibit this. Perhaps he is bleeding somewhere inside that they are not seeing. You dont happen to know if he has been having black stools? This indicates bleeding somewhere in the GI tract and can be quite common in people with cirrhosis. Sometimes they can scope down (say if they are happening in the esophagus) and stop the bleeding this way, or there is also a procedure where a shunt is place down in the portal vein (near the liver) that helps take pressure off and decrease the likelihood of bleeding varices.

Sometimes the spleen can also be affected where the patient may require different hormones to help stimulate the production of red blood cells. He may need more than just units of blood in this case because this blood may just be getting filtered out and therefore not having much affect.

Such a crappy situation. I wish I was there to talk with the doctors and get more details for you so I could give you a better understanding of what is going on. Bottom line is that they need to find out WHY he is anemic and fix it before surgery.

laurensmitty1982's picture
Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 1117

Anna, I have a natural doctor on my facebook that gives advice if you need it. I wrote on his wall and this is what he said.. Not sure if any of this would be useful, but I thought I would try it..

https://www.facebook.com/#!/davefrahm/posts/10150640743597268

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

Thanks everyone. My dad is in surgery right now. They gave him two units of plasma this morning and then took him into surgery with more blood and plasma at the ready in case the cell count dropped during the surgery. It's all very confusing to me, but they are removing his gallbladder today. He has been an alcoholic my whole life and for years before I was born too. So he has cirrhosis of the liver too, but it appears it's not severe enough for the doctors to do anything medically with that at this time. Of course, he's been advised to stop drinking completely and they've had a dietitian meet with him about discuss what kind of diet he needs to be on. Hopefully, he'll follow doctors orders and gets himself straightened out.

Lauren, the doctors haven't said anything about my dad's thyroid, but I assume they will be looking into his other health issues once they get his gallbladder out and reevaluate his health status.