What cause of death if not cirrhosis? - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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What cause of death if not cirrhosis?

Tangointhenight profile image
Tangointhenight

Hi everyone, my dad recently died and i used this forum here and there for information, so thank you. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis not long ago, but never told us how bad it may have been. Having looked at lots online, he had all the bad symptoms and had an ultrasound which i think was when it was confirmed. Anyway, he died in his sleep (no one was there) and so had to have a post mortem - which was found to be inconclusive so now waiting for toxicology reports. I don't quite understand - surely his cirrhosis was the cause of his death? I just wondered if anyone has any advice or experience? What would the coroner be looking for? I assume they have seen his organs and liver so can see the extend of any scar tissue etc. Looking for answers as it's hard not knowing what happened. Keep trying to piece it together. To all those struggling with liver problems, take care and big love x

47 Replies

Hi

Sorry to hear of your father's death. With cirrhosis there are many complications that can cause death. It could have been any one of those or something completely unrelated. I appreciate it may be frustrating to have to wait but unfortunately its just one of those processes that just needs to be done when the cause of death is unclear. Sorry about that.

Hi thanks for replying. Yeah it is hard and i know i have to be patient etc. He had an ascites drain a couple of days before and am worried that may have triggered something. I just expected that surely doing a post mortem would be enough.

I read so many positive stories of people surviving and managing their liver damage and was so hopeful. I guess i didn't think the worst could happen - especially so soon after getting ill. Maybe that was a blessing in some ways.

Hi again,

Yes there are many positive stories, with mine being one of them :-).

Unfortunately, there are also many that are not so positive. I'm sorry that your father had to fall in that category. I therefore send you all my best wishes.

Hi sorry for the bad news-impossible for us to speculate....cirrhosis can cause all kinds of complications-liver failure being one of them.

Hi,

Sorry to hear about your dad. I have heard report's ( from doctors ) that some people can live many year's with cirrhosis while others die without showing little damage and they don't know why. Hopefully in the future a greater understanding will be reached.

Take care.

Yeah i hope there will be more knowledge in the future. This has taught me how little we know publicly (here in uk) about liver problems and cirrohsis, except the stigma of course. It's a difficult thing to live with and i do think the stigma means people dont always get the help or reassurance they need. It makes me want to do something to change that.

Thanks

I absolutely agree about the stigma. Liver disease is given a bad rap. First thing people do is judge sometimes when they hear the diagnoses. Like someone deserved what they got because they drank or did some drugs at some dark or lonely days of their forgotten past. Its so unfair. Liver disease kills so many. Just recently has it become much better. I had Hep C for about 25 years before I knew it was inside me. By that time it had already started making cirrhosis. I had a difficult genotype of the disease and this was a long time ago. They treated Hep c with a Chemo (Inteferon) a cancer drug. It was very difficult to tolerate. So, maybe your dad had Hep C and never knew he carried it. After I found out I had Hep C I started treatment and never drank alcohol again. But sometimes people never find the Hep and continue to drink for years and it destroys the liver. I got Cancer in my liver. Having cancer appear in a sick liver can be a gift if you want to live because it allows you to get on transplant list for a healthy liver. If you never go to doctor and dont find the disease in time to take all the necessary steps to get help it is deadly. I am so sorry that your dad suffered. If I can do anything to help people who just dont understand the steps necessary to find help and a cure believe me I would. I got my liver. Its been almost 4 mos. now. I would be very sick and may not be here if I hadn't. I hope you find some answers and I am very sorry. I wish you the best and I know your Dad is in a better place. I hope you find some comfort in that.

Thank you for the reply, means a lot. Good point about the hep, could potentially be something. Agree totally about the way people judge, I hope it changes over time. Pleased to hear you got a new liver, hope you live a long healthy life :)

Thanks for the kind words. Tangointhenight is a cool name. You must dance. Awesome!

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So sorry to read about the loss of your Dad. Was his cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse ? If so there could be a number of causes of death. My husband's were multi organ failure, alcoholic liver disease and bronco pneumonia.

Thinking about you at such a tough time

Tangointhenight profile image
Tangointhenight in reply to Hidden

Well he was a heavy drinker but wouldn't say alcoholic but did drink most days and a high tolerance. Just surprised they want to do further tests as thought it would be obvious.

Sorry for your loss too, it's so hard when people you love go. I miss him so much already

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I'm sure you do. It's 8 years since we lost him and my children still struggle with it at times. We still talk about the good times we had but don't dwell on the tough times he created within our family I didn't want them growing up thinking badly of him.

The causes of death aren't always obvious ... I was shocked about the multi organ failure it just goes to show what an evil drug alcohol is .

I have read about people drinking a bottle of vodka plus a day yet others having a couple glasses of wine and end up the say way. I don't like the term alcohol abuse, it's seems to paint a nasty picture.

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Hidden in reply to adrian27lee

Living with an alcoholic husband and bringing up 2 kids IS a nasty picture

I know what you mean and yeah the connotations with cirrhosis are that you are drinking a litre of spirit a day when in reality it could be nowhere near that but is everyday and therefore not giving your liver a break.

Sending my best to you on the loss on your dad. I lost my dad in 2012 to secondary brain cancer..if only i could spend another day with him.. i have cirrhosis. 10yrs .was not a heavy drinker. I did not touch spirits but i never ate ...i.think malnutrition did not help .. it really baffled me as i knew some harden drinkers yet they were not affected 😞. I put it down metabolism.. stay strong x

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Hidden in reply to Millie09

Maybe it's just that those hardened drinkers haven't had their livers tested?

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Hidden

Could possibly be 🤔..

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Hidden in reply to Hidden

It's also about tolerance. Some people's bodies can tolerate more alcohol levels than others before showing signs of liver damage. When I was telling my husband he was drinking too much he'd always say well I don't drink as much as my mates and they're ok ! But are they? Had they been in hospital twice with pancreatitis where and when they detected the cirrhosis? No. You can be drinking and damaging your liver for years and have little or no symptoms until in some cases it's too late.

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Hidden

Thats what happened to me . Chronic ALD..when i was married our life revolved around alcohol. We both workdf full time. Thing is i was abused for years by my.now ex and i became dependant to block out the pain..so.i had ascites when i was confirmed with cirrhosis

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Hidden in reply to Millie09

So basically you were feeding each others addiction... deadly. I'm sorry you had to suffer abuse but at least you are away from all that now. I wish you a happy alcohol free and healthy future x

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Hidden

Hi laura , no neither of us had an addiction,it was just the way our social life was but with me i used it more than he knew to block out the awful anxiety and panic of when he would next throw another punch or mentally abuse me which is just aa bad.

He re married 18months after the divorce to a Thai girl.🙄.

I am the happiest i have ever been and life even with my health issues is sweet. Many thanks for your reply xx

mauschen profile image
mauschen in reply to Millie09

Your story is so sad and is a reminder to those who wish to judge. Life can be so difficult at times and we all have different ways of coping.

I have NAFLD and NASH and have never touched alcohol or been dependent on painkillers or any other substance. I have autoimmune disease however, the outcome is the same, I am heading towards cirrhosis with no hope of a life saving transplant.

My point is that we are all human beings and as such should be treated with respect. Liver disease is a rollercoaster of symptoms, signs and emotions .

We need help and support to deal with what life will throw at us, preventative measures before it’s too late.

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to mauschen

Thank you for your reply, yes people are very quick to judge as they only see black and white, there is always a reason behind any addiction.

Sorry to hear that mauschen, and yes we all go through this rollercoaster of an emotional turmoil. We all know what it is like, some worse than others but that is why we are on here.

I would be lost without this forum.

Take care

mauschen profile image
mauschen in reply to Millie09

Me too Millie09

Sorry to hear about your dad too. I hope you are ok as well, I hope you are getting the right treatment etc xx

Thank you,

I am as well as can be expected. Good care from my hospital the QE.. just plod on xx .

Hi Tangointhenight. It's a legal thing if your father hadn't seen a doctor within 14 days prior to death a post mortem is always ordered.

which.co.uk/elderly-care/fo...

Yeah i know, he had seen a doctor within a few days though - his GP refused to sign the certificate as was 'surprised' about his death. I'm confused as he seemed v ill to me when i saw him each time in the weeks up to his passing. So how can she not be? I've had a look at his prescriptions and he was on a certain high blood pressure tablet which apparently interacts with diruetics - so now i'm worried that may have something to do with it as his dose was upped the week before he died. Did that cause an issue? Hoping the coroner finds some answers/

You will drive yourself crazy thinking about a possible cause. Let the coroner and toxicologist come to a conclusion before you start questioning things.

I know it must be very difficult for you at the moment as your father has recently passed away however, it’s all part of the grieving process. You are searching for answers, a reason, a cause, something or someone to blame.

My own father was an alcoholic yet his death was unrelated. Within 8 weeks of a diagnisis of small cell lung cancer, he was dead. The cancer was found accidentally while investigating something else. Our family were shocked, even though we knew that he was dying with liver disease.

With heavy drinkers and alcoholics, often other illnesses can be masked. Who knows what your poor father might have had however, one thing is clear, he has passed from this life in a quiet and dignified manner. Regardless of whether anyone is with us at the end or not, we all leave this life alone.

At the moment your pain is overwhelming and your need for anwers is great. Try not to burden yourself needlessly. When the time is right you will have the chance to ask questions of the right people until then, take care of yourself.

Thank you - I know you are right - I am trying hard not to question every little thing. I need patience but that is proving difficult. I agree he didn't suffer unnecessarily at the end - from reading some sad stories online i know it can be so much worse. Your message was so right, and sorry to hear about your dad too. As i have never lost someone close to me before i am just trying to stay busy, find answers, do research etc. I know in reality it sort of makes no difference in a way as he isn't coming back.

Tangointhenight He is coming back! Once you have worked your way through the grieving process, your dad will be back in the form of memories. When you can think of him without floods of tears, without angry thoughts about what might have been and when you can forgive yourself for not being there ... you will hear him whisper, “ it’s ok”. Then you will know he is back.

I feel your pain, take care.

Your message made me emotional <3 yes i still have a lot of processing to do - angry thoughts then sad thoughts etc - not having answers. But i have great memories and i know in time it will be ok. thank you

You are welcome

Hi Tangointhenight,

Sorry for your loss, always hard to lose a loved one.

I don't think cirrhosis would be listed as cause of death - it might be listed as complications of liver disease. It sounds as though the doctor who did the post could not find any clear evidence of significant organ injury that would have caused his death. Heart attacks usually leave clues as do many other things - stroke, massive bleeds, etc. Sometimes the doctor has to do a closer look at tissue or toxicology tests to find the cause and, unfortunately, sometimes there is no obvious cause.

An old friend of our family who was an orthopedic surgeon once said that in the final analysis people die because their hearts stop or as he put it "you might die of a Tues or a Wed.

My mother passed away while in a rehab facility recovering from a heart attack, they listed her cause of death as heart attack without a post because she was recovering from one.

Again, sympathies to you and your family.

Mary

Thanks for the message Mary, and i suppose you are right - i understand they need to find more clues from further tests. I never thought this would be something I would be doing to be honest, it's so draining. Really hope we get more answers, the worst situation would be not knowing for sure, which i've heard can happen.

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You all have my sympathy after losing your loved ones. It's so very hard, you are all amazing people, everyone on here are brilliant.

I lost my Mum to cancer in 2010 and my Dad to pneumonia and sepsis in 2014, I was and still am heartbroken, I miss them both so much.

I was diagnosed with nafld in may 2016 and Nash in November 2016. My consultant said mine was caused by all the meds my drs have thrown at me over the years. He said I will need a transplant in the end. I've also got fibromyalgia, osteopenia which could turn into osteoporosis. Happy days!!! Love to you all Lynne xxxx

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Hidden

Bless you lynne. Sorry to hear about your parents.

My osteopenia now has onset of osteoarthritis. Physio is a waste of time as i am in more pain during and after that i am laid up for 2 days .fibro is awful as my daughter has it. Sending big (( hugs)XXXXX

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Hidden in reply to Millie09

Thank you so much, you are so kind. How are you today?xxxx

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Hidden

Hi lynne,today is an aching day for me. I put up a shower rail in the bathroom yesterday, bad decision.. i only moved 5 weeks ago and there is so much i want anf need to do but im so restricted. Having a quiet day today. 😊.how are you? Xxxx

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Hidden in reply to Millie09

I'm just the same, thank you for asking. Please take care. Lots of love Lynne xxxx

Millie09 profile image
Millie09 in reply to Hidden

Yes i can well imagine. Thank you lynne,you too xxxx

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Hidden in reply to Millie09

Thank you xxxx

Tangointhenight profile image
Tangointhenight in reply to Hidden

Hi Lynne I somehow missed your reply before. Sorry to hear about your mum and dad, that must be so hard. I miss my dad terribly already and I know people say it gets easier to deal with but I'm not sure how that can be true at the moment. Hope you are feeling ok and at least you are under the care of doctors who know how to treat you etc. Stay up to date with research and everything which might help. Best wishes xx

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my dad to ESLD. On his death certificate there are a few things listed: upper gastrointestinal bleed, kidney failure, and end stage liver disease. So the big picture was liver disease but in the end he had a bleed, and all hisorgans shut down. He was on life support. My sisters and I had to make the decision. I hope you get your answers. I know how hard all of this can be. Here if you ever want to talk. 💙

So sorry to hear about your dad - I know exactly how you feel. I didn't realise they can list a few things, maybe that will give some answers. Everyone on here has been so supportive, thank you x

Did he get blood transfusions? My ex had internal bleeding and all of his organs failed. Did he have jaundice? They tried to do surgery on him but it was too late and the damage was done.

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