Last Updated on Feb 20, 2016

Complications of Biliary Cirrhosis

Patients with biliary cirrhosis may suffer from complications like portal hypertension, osteoporosis, vitamin deficiency, repeated urinary tract infections, and rarely liver cancer.

The patient may suffer from the following complications:

  • Portal hypertension: Portal hypertension refers to excessive blood pressure in the portal veins. Small veins from the digestive tract, pancreas and spleen join together to form the portal vein. The portal vein again branches out in the liver. Obstruction to the portal veins due to scarring of liver tissue in primary biliary cirrhosis causes an increase in pressure in the portal system or portal hypertension. Portal hypertension could lead to complications like massive bleeding at the lower end of the food pipe or formation of piles, which again could lead to bleeding.
  • Osteoporosis or thinning of bone
  • Decreased absorption of fat soluble vitamins i.e. vitamins A, D, E and K, thus leading to vitamin deficiency.
  • Repeated urinary tract infections
  • Liver cancer may occur in some cases


  1. Simon Hohenester & Ronald P. J. Oude-Elferink & Ulrich Beuers. Primary biliary cirrhosis. Semin Immunopathol (2009) 31:283–307.
  2. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 17th edition

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