Primary sclerosing (skluh-ROHS-ing) cholangitis (koh-lan-JIE-tis) is a disease of the bile ducts, which carry the digestive liquid bile from your liver to your small intestine. In primary sclerosing cholangitis, inflammation causes scars within the bile ducts. These scars make the ducts hard and narrow and gradually cause serious liver damage.

In most people with primary sclerosing cholangitis, the disease progresses slowly and can lead to liver failure, repeated infections, and tumors of the bile duct or liver. Liver transplant is the only known cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis.

The search for other treatments to slow or stop primary sclerosing cholangitis is ongoing, and scientists have turned up many promising leads. Until better treatments are proved safe and effective, though, care for primary sclerosing cholangitis focuses on monitoring liver function, managing symptoms and, when possible, doing procedures that temporarily open blocked bile ducts.

Aug. 15, 2014

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