You have come to the right place. Our forum is for patients and caregivers/loved ones affected by liver disease.
A decompensated liver, one that is no longer doing the 600 jobs it has in our bodies, leads to death...the path is pretty much the same regardless of the cause. The speed of that decline varies from patient to patient.
There is some interesting information at the top of this forum with links to web sites you might find helpful.
A liver can be damaged by
Hep A, B or C.
Hemachromatosis (too much iron)
Auto Immune Hepatitis and several other auto immune disorders
Liver Cancer, etc.
My partner drank alcoholically for many years, had Hep C from IV drug use as a kid, and Heptocellular Carcinoma. He was a walking dead man in 2010.
He joined AA (needed 6 months documentation to be cleared for UNOS), took all the meds they put him on, and stabilized for long enough to get in a liver transplant program. He qualified in 2011 and received his transplant in May 2011. The lactulose and xifaxan were the most important I think.
He is sober and cancer free. The Hepatitis C is not clear. He will need a treatment for that now that he is recuperated from the transplant. And he still takes a boat load of meds...but that is all manageable.
But before this program he was sick like your brother...bleeding (his was rectal from small bowel not esophagus like many of them), he peed coke color urine, had jaundice, legs and ankles swollen, hepatic encephalopathy (confused mental status caused when liver does not clear the blood of toxins), high blood pressure, low blood sugar, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, sleeping all day, up all night, low platelets causing the bleeding, etc. He was in the hospital once a month most of the year before transplant...we coudn't keep his electrolytes balanced and he had several episodes of kidney failure and sepsis (e coli in the blood often causes death). He also had one hospitalization for high ammonia (hepatic encephalopathy) He often needed help dressing and getting to the toilet. He had cramps in legs and feet and itched so much he scratched himself in the night.
Your SIL is smoking funny stuff if she thinks he will be fine in 4 months.
However, HE MAY rebound when he is truly alcohol free. We have members here who have come back from death's door to function quite well again for a long time. Or they stay alcohol free, eat a very healthy diet (low sodium, no red meat, low fat, lots of fruits and veggies, etc etc..the usual).
I hope a couple of the members who have not needed transplants (yet?) and are doing well will post in also.
If your brother resumes his drinking ways once he is feeling better he is playing with fire. I can't be more clear about
it than that. Once your liver is decompensated, there is no going back.
Your SIL needs to be sure he is being treated at a major medical center by a hepatologist. Those guys have the information about
transplant programs. The GI docs sometimes figure the guy is a drinking man, isn't going to change his spots, so make him comfortable and wait for the inevitable. Sad...they sort of triage AWAY from the care that can be life saving if someone wants to be saved.
Does your brother have other problems other than alcoholic cirrhosis? Hep C? Heart or kidney disease. Cancers? Sometimes there are problems with transplant when someone has other problems.
My partner has both heart and kidney problems but not bad enough to keep him out of the program.
Are you in the US? I can get the list of transplant centers if you don't have them at your finger tips.
Even if he isn't going to go for transplant, the Hepatologists are the most knowledgeable about
treating and maintaining liver health.
Keep us posted on how he is doing. All is not lost!
BUT, he isn't skipping off, a 30year old healthy man in 3 or 4 months!!! Trust me.
Post Edited By Moderator (hep93) : 7/15/2012 8:23:15 PM (GMT-6)