Cirrhosis is a chronic and progressive liver disease that occurs when scar tissue gradually replaces healthy liver tissue. Certain conditions, such as hepatitis B and C, can cause post-necrotic cirrhosis.

In post-necrotic cirrhosis, the liver has nodules, or fibrous areas of tissue, more than 3 millimeters (mm) wide. If scar tissue builds up, it cannot work properly. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Around 1 in 400 adults in the United States are living with cirrhosis. Although there is no cure, there are ways to slow the progression of the disease.

Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for post-necrotic cirrhosis.

A slide under a microscope.Share on Pinterest
Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images

Post-necrotic cirrhosis means the liver is scarred and has nodules or growths of more than 3 mm in diameter. It is irreversible, but people can manage the condition with medication and lifestyle changes.

Viruses, including the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), can cause post-necrotic cirrhosis.

Other causes include primary biliary cholangitis, an autoimmune disease affecting the liver, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. This is a genetic condition that increases the risk of lung and liver disease.

A person with cirrhosis might not experience symptoms initially. However, symptoms may include the following as the disease progresses:

Cirrhosis has multiple causes. The most common are:

Other causes include:

In addition to post-necrotic, other types of cirrhosis include micronodular and mixed. They can develop into post-necrotic cirrhosis.

Micronodular cirrhosis means that liver scarring and nodules are less than 3 mm in diameter. In mixed cirrhosis, there are nodules both smaller and larger than 3mm and scarring.

Learn more about types of cirrhosis.

Because a person may not have symptoms in the early stages, doctors often diagnose post-necrotic cirrhosis when testing for another condition or disease.

Diagnosis may involve:

  • performing a physical examination that checks for swelling in the upper abdomen
  • asking about personal and family medical history
  • asking about dietary habits and alcohol consumption

They may also recommend blood tests to check liver function and imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan, to look for scarring or nodules. Depending on these findings, they may take a tissue biopsy for laboratory testing.

There is no cure for post-necrotic cirrhosis, but there are ways to slow its progression. These include making appropriate lifestyle choices, such as avoiding alcohol and eating a nutritious and balanced diet.

People can also work with their doctor to treat and manage underlying health conditions, such as hepatitis. Their doctor may also recommend vaccination against HBV and HCV.

In some cases, doctors may recommend a liver transplant.

The outlook for people with cirrhosis depends on the stage or severity of the condition at the time of diagnosis. It is also important to note that many factors, such as age, lifestyle habits, and overall health, can affect a person’s outcome.

In cases where doctors make a diagnosis before symptoms appear, also known as compensated cirrhosis, the liver can still compensate for the damage and function effectively. As a result, the individual has a 47% chance of living at least another 10 years in comparison with someone without cirrhosis.

However, after symptoms appear, the outlook is less optimistic.

Individuals need to seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms of cirrhosis. Additionally, if a person has a family history of liver disease, they may have a higher risk of developing cirrhosis and need to discuss screening options with their doctor.

It is important to remember that other medical conditions can also cause cirrhosis symptoms.

Therefore, a person needs to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. In all cases, early diagnosis and treatment provide the best chance of minimizing complications.

Post-necrotic cirrhosis is a form of liver disease that affects liver function. It means the liver has nodules of more than 3 mm in diameter.

Various factors that can cause post-necrotic cirrhosis include hepatitis infection and excessive alcohol use.

Although there is no cure, doctors may recommend avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining a nutritious diet, and managing general health to support liver function as much as possible.