Overview

Primary sclerosing (skluh-ROHS-ing) cholangitis (koh-lan-JIE-tis) is a disease of the bile ducts. Bile ducts 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. It can eventually lead to liver failure, repeated infections, and tumors of the bile duct or liver. A liver transplant is the only known cure for advanced primary sclerosing cholangitis, but the disease may recur in the transplanted liver in a small number of patients.

Care for primary sclerosing cholangitis focuses on monitoring liver function, managing symptoms and, when possible, doing procedures that temporarily open blocked bile ducts.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis care at Mayo Clinic