ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Complications of primary sclerosing cholangitis may include:
May 16, 2017
- Liver disease and failure. Chronic inflammation of the bile ducts throughout your liver can lead to tissue scarring (cirrhosis), liver cell death and, eventually, loss of liver function.
- Repeated infections. If scarring of the bile ducts slows or stops the flow of bile out of the liver, you may experience frequent infections in the bile ducts. The risk of infection is particularly high after you've had a surgical procedure to expand a badly scarred bile duct or remove a stone blocking a bile duct.
- Portal hypertension. Your portal vein is the major route for blood flowing from your digestive system into your liver. Portal hypertension refers to high blood pressure in this vein. Portal hypertension can cause fluid from the liver to leak into your abdominal cavity (ascites). It can also divert blood from the portal vein to other veins, causing these veins to become swollen (varices). Varices are weak veins and tend to bleed easily, which can be life-threatening.
- Thinning bones. People with primary sclerosing cholangitis may experience thinning bones (osteoporosis). Your doctor may recommend a bone density exam to test for osteoporosis every few years. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may be prescribed to help prevent bone loss.
- Bile duct cancer. If you have primary sclerosing cholangitis, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the bile ducts or gallbladder.
- Colon cancer. People with primary sclerosing cholangitis associated with inflammatory bowel disease have an increased risk of colon cancer. If you've been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, your doctor may recommend testing for inflammatory bowel disease, even if you have no signs or symptoms, since the risk of colon cancer is elevated if you have both diseases.
- Kowdley KV. Primary sclerosing cholangitis in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Singh S, et al. Primary sclerosing cholangitis: Diagnosis, prognosis, and management. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2013;11:898.
- Eaton JE, et al. Pathogenesis of primary sclerosing cholangitis and advances in diagnosis and management. Gastroenterology. 2013;45:521.
- Imam MH, et al. Pathogenesis and management of pruritus in cholestatic liver disease. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;27:1150.
- Kowdley KV. Primary sclerosing cholangitis: Epidemiology and pathogenesis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 18, 2013.
- Hirschfield GM, et al. Primary sclerosing cholangitis. The Lancet. 2013;382:1587.
- Kowdley, KV. Primary sclerosing cholangitis in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 18, 2013.
- Bunchorntavakul C, et al. Pruritis in chronic liver disease. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2012;16:331.
- Phan NQ, et al. Antipruritic treatment with systemic µ-opioid receptor antagonists: A review. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2010;63:680.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 22, 2014.
- Carbone M, et al. Autoimmune liver disease, autoimmunity and liver transplantation. Journal of Hepatology. 2014;60:210.
- Murad SD, et al. Efficacy of neoadjuvant chemoradiation, followed by liver transplantation, for perihilar cholangiocarcinoma at 12 US centers. Gastroenterology. 2012;143:88.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Perihilar and distal cholangiocarcinoma. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/primary-sclerosing-cholangitis-psc/. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Liver health and wellness. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/liverhealth/. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Nutrition for people with liver disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Research; 2013.
- Medication safety. Canadian Liver Foundation. http://www.liver.ca/liver-health/liver-disease-prevention/tips-for-healthy-liver/drug-safety.aspx. Accessed Jan. 23, 2014.
- Medications and the liver. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/medications-and-the-liver/. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Rosenthal TC, et al. Fatigue: An overview. American Family Physician. 2008;78:1173.