Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Diagnosed and Treated by Doctors at Mercy

Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Patients seek the expertise of Dr. Paul ThuluvathDr. Anurag Maheshwari and Dr. Hwan Yoo at The Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Diseases at Mercy in Baltimore for the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases, including primary sclerosing cholangitis, as well as their skills in liver transplant management.

About the Condition

Primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic, progressive disease of the liver, causes walls of the bile ducts to become inflamed leading to scarring and hardening. The bile ducts eventually become narrow, prohibiting the free flow of bile from the liver. When too much bile accumulates in the liver, the bile seeps into the bloodstream damaging and shutting down the liver. Gallbladder ducts and pancreas ducts also may be involved which increases the risks for the development of biliary cancer or cirrhosis.

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

In the early stages of primary sclerosing cholangitis, symptoms may not be present. When they do occur, primary sclerosing cholangitis symptoms can include:

  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Chills and fever

Often, primary sclerosing cholangitis is suspected after an abnormality appears in a routine blood test during a routine physical. Primary sclerosing cholangitis can be diagnosed through cholangiography, an injection of dye into the bile ducts followed by taking an x-ray or MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography). A liver biopsy also may be performed to diagnose primary sclerosing cholangitis.

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Treatment Options

The main treatment option for primary sclerosing cholangitis is to manage the symptoms and reduce the progression of the disease. Since primary sclerosing cholangitis usually ends with liver failure, a liver transplant is a treatment option for severe cases.