Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Cirrhosis is a clinical entity characterized by a spectrum of diffused hepatic pathologic features that underpin a number of characteristic clinical signs and symptoms. It represents an irreversible state of chronic liver failure resulting from a wide variety of chronic liver diseases. The word cirrhosis derives from the Greek scirrhus , which means “tawny” (the color of the orange or tawny surface of the liver seen at autopsy). The term was coined by René Laënnec in 1826, through his work in which he also discusses the stethoscope. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are responsible for about 35,000 deaths per year in the United States, where it is the ninth leading cause of death, accounting for 1.2 percent of total deaths. The pathologic features that define cirrhosis are extensive fibrosis (deposition of the components of the extracellular matrix), along with regenerative, structurally abnormal nodules. They are a consequence of events such ...