for Veterans and the Public
What You and Your Provider Should Do to Take Good Care of Your Liver - Cirrhosis for Patients
You and your provider can do the following things to keep your liver as healthy as possible for as long as possible. (Take this list with you to discuss with your provider.)
- Control or remove the cause of the liver injury (for example: stop drinking alcohol, treat hepatitis, lose weight)
- 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 months.
- If appropriate 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 prescribed, to reduce the chance of decompensation.
- Take medicines called diuretics (spironolactone alone or with furosemide) when prescribed, 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.
- Review your medication 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.