Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a long-term disease that gradually blocks and damages the bile ducts of the liver. In PSC, inflammation of the bile ducts leads to scarring and narrowing of the ducts. Over time, as scarring increases, the ducts become blocked, resulting in accumulation of bile in the liver, which slowly damages the liver cells, causing cirrhosis or fibrosis. As this progresses, the liver loses its ability to function.

This advancement happens gradually and slowly. In many cases, symptoms develop years after the disease occurs. Fatigue, skin itching, and jaundice are the most common symptoms. Ultimately, many patients will need a liver transplant. PSC also may result in bile duct cancer. Endoscopy and MRI tests are used to monitor the disease.

The exact cause of PSC is unknown. Bacterial or viral infections and genetic factors are said to play a role. PSC doesn't have any specific cure or treatment. Some of the symptoms may be relieved through the use of medication.