Complications of sclerosing cholangitis occur due to vitamin deficiency and accumulation of bile in the liver.
Complications of Sclerosing Cholangitis are:
Vitamin Deficiency: Bile secreted by the liver helps in absorption of certain vitamins i.e. A, D, E and K. Absence of bile in the intestines in sclerosing cholangitis causes loss of these vitamins in the stools leading to vitamin deficiency.
Bone Disease: Lack of vitamin D leads to bone disease
The bile ducts may be narrowed resulting in the formation of strictures. Strictures obstruct the flow of bile.
The bile ducts could be more prone to bacterial infection.
Gallbladder stones and polyps may form due to accumulation of bile in the gall bladder.
The liver could be affected resulting in a condition called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis could progress to liver failure.
Sclerosing cholangitis predisposes the patient to develop cholangiocarcinoma or cancer of the bile ducts. Cholangiocarcinoma occurs in 7 to 15% of patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis. The cancer could spread to other parts of the body as well. The patient is also at an increased risk for developing cancer of the pancreas, gall bladder and colon.
Blood pressure in the liver could increase resulting in a condition called portal hypertension. This could result in bleeding at the lower end of the food pipe.
The patient may die due to cholangiocarcinoma, liver failure or bleeding.