for Veterans and the Public
What you and your provider should do to take good care of your liver
You and your provider can do the following things to keep your liver as healthy as possible for as long as possible. (Take this with you to discuss with your provider.)
- Schedule liver clinic visits every 6 months; more often if you have decompensated cirrhosis.
- Have blood tests (to see how well the liver is working and to check for liver cancer) and an ultrasound (or CT or MRI) every 6 to 12 months.
- Have an endoscopy to screen for varices (repeated every few years if you have no varices or only small ones).
- Take medicines called beta-blockers when varices are large, to reduce the chance of bleeding.
- Take medicines called diuretics (spironolactone alone or with furosemide) to decrease ascites, and have regular blood tests to check for kidney health.
- Talk about how much alcohol you are drinking at every clinic visit.
- Go over your medicine list at every clinic visit.
- Talk about whether and when a liver transplant workup should be started for you.
- Discuss and update your Child-Pugh score (also known as CTP score) and your MELD score at each clinic visit. These scores are ratings that tell how sick your liver is and how urgently you need a transplant. These are explained in the list of terms in the next section.