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list of terms and termonology

ALBUMIN - Main circulating protein in bloodstream synthesized by liver. Measured in blood by laboratory to assess function of liver.

ALCOHOLIC HEPATITIS - Hepatitis with unique pathologic liver injury varying widely in severity and caused by chronic, heavy alcohol ingestion.

ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE - Enzyme or protein synthesized by the liver in large amounts when there is obstruction of the bile ducts to the normal flow of bile. Measured in blood by laboratory to assess function of liver.

ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) - Enzyme or protein that leaks from the damaged liver. Measured in blood to assess liver injury.

ANTI-NUCLEAR ANTIBODY TEST - Laboratory test, when positive suggests the presence of some form of autoimmune illness.

ASCITES - Fluid accumulation around the liver and other abdominal organs resulting from portal hypertension.

AST (Aspertate Aminotransferase) - Enzyme or protein that leaks from the damaged liver. Measured in blood to assess liver injury.

AZATHIOPRINE - Drug marketed with trade name Imuran. Used to treat a number of diseases of unknown or autoimmune cause. Also used to treat organ transplant recipients to help prevent graft rejection.

BILE DUCT - Large tube-like structure that delivers bile from the liver to the intestine to help digest food.

BILE DUCTULE - Microscopic bile duct that collects bile from liver cells and delivers it to the large bile duct outside the liver.

BILE - Fluid produced by liver cells and carried by bile ductules into the bile duct and stored in gall bladder between meals.  Contains substances needed to aid in the digestion of food. Provides a method for the body to eliminate toxic substances that are broken down by the liver.

Biliary Colic. Intermittent obstruction of the cystic duct by gallstones. History will generally include episodes of epigastric and RUQ pain, which may radiate to back. Pain is usually constant, is abrupt in onset, and subsides slowly. Nausea is commonly associated. Attacks may be precipitated by ingestion of fatty foods.

BILIRUBIN - Chemical breakdown product of hemoglobin. Measured in blood specimen by laboratory to assess function of liver.

CERULOPLASMIN - Serum protein measured by laboratory to help in the diagnosis of Wilson's Disease.

CHOLANGIOCARCINOMA - Malignant tumor that arises from bile ducts or ductules.

CHRONIC HEPATITIS - Prolonged inflammation and death of liver cells persisting for six months or more caused by hepatitis viruses, autoimmune factors, and on occasion, unknown conditions.

CIRRHOSIS - Used as a pathologic term to denote extensive scarring in the liver along with irregular nodules of regenerating liver tissue. Used as a clinical liver term to refer to the condition of individuals with liver disease accompanied by ascites, esophageal variceal bleeding, or hepatic encephalopathy.

COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN - A specialized x-ray procedure utilizing multiple radiographic films of the liver to construct with computer technology, a 2-dimensional picture of the liver. 

CYCLOSPORINE A - Drug marketed with trade names Sandimmune and Neoral. Given to organ transplant recipients to prevent the body from rejecting the graft. Inhibits immune system from rejecting foreign tissue.

DRUG HEPATITIS - Hepatitis caused by a drug. Causative drugs include isoniazid (INH), Alpha Methyldopa, and Dilatin.

ENDOSCOPE - A flexible instrument containing fiberoptic bundles and a light source used by physicians to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may also be used to define the anatomy of the biliary tree and may be a better choice than radionuclide scanning in many situations. This is especially true if consideration is being given to laparoscopic surgery and a common duct stone needs to be ruled out.

ESOPHAGEAL VARICES - Dilated vessels in the lower end of the esophagus that result from portal hypertension. Often results in gastrointestinal bleeding, a life threatening complication of cirrhosis.

FERRITIN - Iron-containing serum protein measured by laboratory to help establish a diagnosis of hemochromatosis.

GALLBLADDER - Specialized organ that joins the bile duct and is located just under the liver. Stores bile secreted by the liver between meals and empties this fluid into the intestine to help with digestion at the time of food intake.

GGTP (Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase) - Enzyme or protein synthesized by the liver in large amounts when there is obstruction of the bile ducts to the normal flow of bile. Measured in blood by laboratory to assess function of liver.

HEMANGIOSARCOMA - Malignant tumor that arises from the blood vessels of the liver.

HEMOCHROMATOSIS - A genetic disorder involving increased absorption of iron by the gastrointestinal tract and deposition in the liver resulting ultimately in cirrhosis and liver failure.

HEPATIC ARTERY - Main artery that supplies fully oxygenated blood to the liver. Comes from aorta to underside of the liver.

HEPATIC VEIN - Main outflow vein of liver connecting liver to vena cava and then to heart. Located  on topside of liver.

HEPATITIS A ANTIBODY (Anti HA) - Main laboratory test used to detect hepatitis A. Detects antibody produced by patient's immune system in response to hepatitis A virus.

HEPATITIS A - Hepatitis caused by hepatitis A virus. Most  common in children and adolescents. Usually resolves in a few weeks. Almost  never fatal. Transmitted by contaminated food and water.

HEPATITIS B CORE ANTIBODY (Anti-HBc) - Laboratory test that detects antibody produced by patient's immune system in response to internal components of the hepatitis B virus.

HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIBODY (Anti-HBs) - Laboratory test that detects antibody produced by patient's immune system in response to surface component of the hepatitis B virus.

HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIGEN (HBsAg) - Main laboratory test used to establish a diagnosis of hepatitis B. Detects component of hepatitis B virus circulating in patient's serum.

HEPATITIS B VIRUS DNA (HBV DNA) - Laboratory test that detects internal component of hepatitis B virus.Reflects degree of activity or rate of multiplication of the virus.

HEPATITIS Be ANTIGEN (HBeAg) - Laboratory test that helps to determine degree of activity, or rate of multiplication, of hepatitis B virus.

HEPATITIS B - Hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus, transmitted by infected serum. Full recovery in more than 90% of infected individuals in a few days to a few weeks. Five to ten percent of individuals may develop chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, or severe liver failure requiring transplantation.

HEPATITIS C ANTIBODY (Anti-HC) - Laboratory test that detects antibodies produced by patient's immune system in response to presence of the hepatitis C virus. Laboratory test methods include enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and radioimmunoblot assay (RIBA).

HEPATITIS C RNA (HC RNA) - Laboratory test that measures the levels of components of the hepatitis C virus in the patient's serum.

HEPATITIS C - Hepatitis caused by the hepatitis C virus. Transmitted by infected serum. Less than half the patients recover with disappearance of the virus. Individuals may develop chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and severe liver failure, usually after many years of infection. 

HEPATITIS D ANTIBODY (Anti-HD) - Laboratory test that detects antibodies in serum produced by patient's immune system in response to the presence of hepatitis D virus.

HEPATITIS D - A unique viral particle that infects individuals only when there is concommitent hepatitis B infection. Increases the likelihood of severe liver damage and cirrhosis.

HEPATITIS E - Hepatitis caused by the hepatitis E virus. Transmitted by infected food and water and more common in tropical and subtropical regions of the world than in the United States. Substantial fatality in pregnant women.

HEPATITIS - Liver disorder characterized by inflammation and random necrosis (death) of liver cells. Caused by viruses, drugs, alcohol, toxins and other injurious agents.

HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA (Hepatoma) - Most common malignant tumor of the liver. Arises from the main cells of the liver.

INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE - Comprises inflammatory diseases of the large and small intestine that are chronic in nature and are often associated with the development of sclerosing cholangitis.

INTERFERON - Drug produced by several companies with brand names: Intron, Roferon, and Infragen for the treatment of hepatitis B and C. Interferons are natural substances produced by the body that help to strengthen the immune system and display anti-viral activity against infections such as hepatitis C.

LIVER BIOPSY - Procedure used to take a sample of the liver to study under a microscope to determine the degree of liver damage or the type of liver injury. Can be performed by passing a needle between the ribs on the right side or at the time of surgical procedure where the abdomen is opened.

LIVER FAILURE - A term used to refer to the clinical picture produced by end-stage cirrhosis manifested by esophageal variceal hemorrhage, ascites, and/or hepatic encephalopathy.

MITOCHONDRIAL ANTIBODY - Laboratory test used to help establish a diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis.

MYCOPHENOLATE MOFETIL - Drug marketed with trade name Cellcept. Given to organ transplant recipients to prevent the body from rejecting the graft. Inhibits immune system from rejecting foreign tissue.

PORTAL HYPERTENSION - Increased pressure in the portal vein and blood vessels from the intestine resulting from scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, often contributing to ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, and esophageal variceal bleeding.

PORTAL VEIN - Main vein that brings blood from the intestine and stomach into the liver for processing foods. Located on the underside of the liver. 

PORTAL-SYSTEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY - Refers to a condition of mental status changes, ranging from mild confusion to a coma-state resulting from increased ammonia transferred to the brain because of the inability of the liver to remove this toxic compound from the circulation. 

PREDNISONE - Drug used to treat a number of autoimmune diseases. Broken down by body into a product normally produced by the adrenal gland. Has broad immunosuppressive effects and is often used for management of organ transplant recipients.

PRIMARY BILIARY CIRRHOSIS - Chronic liver disease, most common in women, caused by inflammation of bile ductules leading to a raised serum alkaline phosphatase and serum bilirubin. Course may be prolonged over many years or may proceed to liver failure in 3-5 years.

PRIMARY SCLEROSING CHOLANGITIS - A liver disorder that most commonly occurs in patients with inflammatory bowel disease resulting in destruction of the bile ductules in the liver leading to a marked increase in the serum alkaline phosphatase and serum bilirubin. Ultimately leads to cirrhosis and liver failure.

PROTHROMBIN TIME - Test performed by laboratory that measures time required for a blood sample to clot. Reflects overall function of the liver. 

RIBAVIRIN - One of a new class of drugs used to treat viral infections called nucleocide analogues.  These drugs interfere in a specific way with the mechanisms used by viruses for multiplication.

TACROLIMUS (FK506) - Drug marketed with trade name Prograf. Given to organ transplant recipients to prevent the body from rejecting the graft. Inhibits immune system from rejecting foreign tissue.

TOXIC HEPATITIS - Hepatitis caused by an industrial chemical such as carbon tetrachloride or phosphorus.

ULTRASOUND EXAMINATION - A test that utilizes ultrasound waves to bounce off internal organs of the body to construct a picture used by physicians as a non-invasive study of the liver.

VIRAL HEPATITIS - Hepatitis caused by any of several known viruses for which physicians can perform tests.

WILSON'S DISEASE - A genetic disorder leading to increased retention of copper in the liver resulting in chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. If untreated, liver failure may occur.

 

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