Cirrhosis and liver function - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Cirrhosis and liver function

Beauport profile image

After a CT and Ultrasound scan I was diagnosed a week ago with cirrhosis, osophogeal varices and possible tumour.

Today my GP gave me the news that recent bloods taken at the hospital show NORMAL liver function! Is it really possible to normal liver function whilst suffering from cirrhosis?

Next Friday I'm to have an endoscopy/biopsy so will have more details then.

But normal liver function? Have I been misdiagnosed? Btw I've been abstinent for 3 months.

Grateful for your views.

Tks Beauport

40 Replies

You've had a CT scan and they are generally conclusive so sadly your diagnosis of cirrhosis is probably accurate. Liver Function blood test results can return as normal even with cirrhosis - my hubby was diagnosed with cirrhosis, with portal hypertension and other stuff after a massive upper GI bleed in April 2012. He was listed for transplant in June 2014 but delisted after 10 months when his blood test results normalised and his liver results have remained stable ever since.

Good news on the abstinence, keep up the good work as it will help look after your liver going forward.


Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to AyrshireK

Katie, thank you so much for your reply. It gives me great hope to read stories like your husband's. Cirrhosis isn't the death sentence it used to be, but I know I need to treat it gently and with respect.

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to AyrshireK

Sorry for delay in replying. My main worry at the moment is that I may have a tumour. Will know more after the results of the endoscopy/biopsy on Friday. Btw, does your hubby follow a special liver diet? Best wishes to you both.

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Beauport

Hope your endoscopy and other tests go well and you get proper answers and full diagnosis so you know what you are dealing with going forward.

Hubby saw a liver specialist dietician when he was referred to liver transplant unit in 2013. In his case he was deemed to be suffering from malnutrition and muscle wastage so the dietician put him onto a high protein and high carbohydrate menu with frequent snacks and a good supper. He was under the transplant unit and they were building him up with a view to transplant plus the advice about eating little and often helps with fuelling your daily activity when your liver isn't functioning properly.

We watch salt content of foods though unless you cook everything from scratch you can't totally avoid it.

When you see your liver team it is best to ask to see a dietician who will work out your own individual needs as it varies from person to person and the reason behind your cirrhosis - what is good for someone with fatty liver disease isn't right for others (for example).


Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to AyrshireK

Thanks for that Katie. Diet is so important for health, isn't it? Generally my experience has been that the medical profession as a whole isn't terribly interested in diet, but I guess where the liver is concerned they have to consider nutrition, since everything that enters your mouth has to be processed by the liver in due course.

I'll certainly ask to see a nutritionist - thanks again.

Yes that is possible. My hubby was diagnosed with cirrhosis due to having other symptoms but had normal LFT's that was why it took so long (6 months) for medics to find out what was causing his symptoms.

He even had normal levels of AFP. (tumour marker). But when they took out his liver he had over 10 Primary Liver Tumours (HCC)

He is now going on 6 years post transplant and no recurrence.

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to freddie76

Thanks Freddie. Best wishes to you both.

I have cirrhosis , but have had normal blood tests for the last two years, even my platelets are quite good.

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to Bermuda1

I think my platelets are still a little bit iffy and I'm slightly anaemic but it's early days of abstinence still. Feel great. Thanks Bermuda1.

Blood tests can't show scarring (fibrosis or cirrhosis) on their own.

There's more info here

I think the bit of your liver that isn't damaged by scarring is functioning normally. So definitely do all you can through diet and by not drinking alcohol to keep it that way.

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to annaserena

Yes indeed I will. There's nothing like a diagnosis of cirrhosis to keep you on the straight and narrow! xx

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to annaserena

Thank you annaserena. I've had both an ultrasound and a CT scan. Is it true that you have to lie still for 2 hours after a biopsy/endoscopy? If so, can you read a book? 2 hours gazing into space is a worse prospect than the procedure itself!

1football profile image
1football in reply to Beauport


I have cirrhosis & 3 tumours and awaiting a transplant but all my bloods come back as normal.

Abstaining from alcohol is by far the best thing you can do, & in some cases the liver improves greatly.

As for biopsy you just need to lay flat for couple of hours to minimise the risk of a bleed. So yes you can read or listen on head phones.

Best of luck to you


Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to 1football

Thank you Huw. Can I ask you how long you've been on the transplant list?

1football profile image
1football in reply to Beauport

I've been on the list since Jan 3rd,am one of the lucky ones as feel really well

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to 1football

Me too - I've never felt better since I gave up drinking. It's hard to believe we're ill, isn't it?

1football profile image
1football in reply to Beauport

It is,sometimes feel a bit of a fraud, even my consultant says that if he passed me on the street he wouldn't see any signs of liver people's and he'd know.what hospital are you at?

1football profile image
1football in reply to 1football

Liver problems

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to 1football

I'm at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, but if tumours are found, or if I need any surgery, my GP said I'd probably be sent to Kings in London.

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to Beauport

A biopsy requires a rest of 4 hours from memory, so definitely bring a book (but it might be shorter- I can't remember). For the endoscopy, it depends if you have had any sedation or not. If you have not been sedated, you can go straightaway. With sedation, you may be asleep for a while, but after eating and drinking, you can go. Endoscopies, do make your throat sore, so eating and drinking can be uncomfortable when you swallow. Just eat soft food :)

I can't remember whether I've replied to you or not (encephalopathy?)!! I'll definitely ask for sedation and when I wake up I'll read for a while. Many thanks.

An endoscopic biopsy is not the same as a liver biopsy either transjugular or direct through the side so the process and recovers is vastly different.

It sounds as though you may have compensated cirrhosis where the healthy part of the liver is carrying the workload.

But I have to stress as much as I can that we can only give you our experience and the things we have learned through this roller coaster ride. Write down any questions you have and either book a double appointment with your GP where they have time to explain or listen to your fears.

Unfortunately, a lot if doctors don't factor in how scary this can be especially without full information.

We're always here for you to sound off to or to give support when you need it.

There are some wonderful people on this forum. I know there have been times they held me together.

Rita xx

Thanks Rita. I'll take it as it comes - am trying not to anticipate what the future will bring. It's heartening to read all the optimistic and helpful advice you're all giving.


I'm stage 4 Cirrhosis and my liver enzymes are normal as of now. I am on 2000mg of Ursodiol a day. 😊

I also have grade 1 esophageal varices and portal hypertension.

Have they treated the varices? And do you have any side effects from the Ursodiol?

Right before my transplant my liver functions were all good. BUT I was getting drained for ascites every ten days. So, it depends on so many variables.

Speak with your doctor to be sure!

Cheering you on!


Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to dckimberly

Hi Kimberley - it's interesting how different we cirrhosis sufferers all are. Thanks for your positive vibes!

Its not unusual at all to have normal LFT with liver problems. My hubby was the same...

You can have normal liver function blood work results for two main reasons:

#1 some blood tests ( ALT ) only show damage mostly within the last 2-3 days

#2 the liver can still perform all its functions adequately even with cirrhosis, providing it's not severe. Imaging tests are much more accurate and a positive biopsy diagnosis is absolute confirmation. The key here is to stop drinking alcohol to stop or slow the progression of this very serious and insidious problem. Your liver may even bounce back a bit if you quit for life

Beauport profile image
Beauport in reply to Stupidliver

Thanks Stupidliver! I've abstained from alcohol for over 3 months now, long before I got the cirrhosis diagnosis. I feel great in every way - don't miss alcohol at all.

My greatest fear right now is that the endoscopy/biopsy will reveal a tumour - all will be revealed soon - endoscopy is happening on Friday. So fingers crossed for me!

Stupidliver profile image
Stupidliver in reply to Beauport

Hopefully no tumour will show up. Keep us posted

Your liver functions should of definitely been elevated.Did you u actually see the blood test report? As the ALTS AND LFTS can be slightly elevated and the Drs just class it as normal.I truly hope you have no tumours.The worst thing for your liver is alcohol.Has your stomach been swollen? Also have all your blood tests been done by the same pathology clinic? I no my tests showed different levels at different pathology places. When did you first have a blood test? Osophogeal varices should only be diagnosed through a colonoscopy And gastroscope.Are you under a liver specialist?Good luck I pray you don't have tumours! Cut out all salt garlic and onions and look up the food map diet it's what my specialist recommend.kind regards Cathy-anne

It's very early days for me Cathy-Anne - I was only diagnosed a week or so ago. All will be revealed after the endoscopy on Friday. No swelling in stomach, legs were swollen for some weeks but they've gone down. Fingers crossed!

Trust1 profile image

Hi Beauport,

Welcome to the forum.

If you ever need to email or talk, then please do contact The British Liver Trust . Here is the link to our support services;

We hope you will find the forum a supportive place to visit,

Warm wishes,


Thank you Rebecca. I've been following the forum for a while now and it is helpful to read other people's experiences. However, I am often baffled by the acronyms - perhaps I'll gradually get them all worked out!

Beauport, I have liver cirrhosis, portal vein thrombosis and normal LFT's....I was dx back in Oct 13 and put on the tx list in Nov 16. How are you? How do you feel?

Hi Chelle - I feel absolutely great! It's hard to believe I'm seriously ill when I feel so well! But there it is, no denying it.

I'm having an endoscopy/biopsy today - fingers crossed for me! And thanks for your concern.

You have all been so positive. My fiancé was diagnosed with "mild cirrhosis" 6 yrs ago. He had yellow eyes after a month of excess drinking, high alt & ast levels & was given a biopsy. The doctors never really gave him a reason for the cirrhosis so he just assumed it was due to the excess drinking that month. And his dad also has yellow eyes since he could remember (his dad is almost 70). My fiancé no longer drinks except on occasion but I'm freaking out after finding out he was diagnosed with it & doing research online of what the "life expectancy" is. Is that just for severe cases of cirrhosis? Not sure how it works. But we eat a lot of fast food so I'm making him eat healthy now and I'm not sure the life expectancy applies to him since he had a mild case and his blood test levels are back to normal. He says he is fine now but I can't stop worrying without being certain. Can you live many years with mild cirrhosis without needing a transplant? Or how long before you usually need a transplant? I'm very confused about the whole thing. I want him for a lifetime :( . Hopefully I can hear from those spouses of patients how long your husband has been around with it

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