Decompensated cirrhosis with ascites a... - British Liver Trust

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Decompensated cirrhosis with ascites and varices prognosis


Hi, my brother is an alcoholic and recently came to stay with us as he had been asked to leave his rented accommodation. We were shocked by how much weight he had lost and then his belly started swelling and then his feet and legs. My mum got him to agree to make a doctors appointment. He got one for the following week but by the Sunday his belly was so swollen he looked 9 months pregnant. We called 111 and were advised to go to the out of hours clinic at the local hospital. The doctor there took one look at him and admitted him. Over the next two days we were told that he had decompensated cirrhosis and that we should be prepared that he might not make it. On the Tuesday afternoon we arrived to visit just as he was being taken for an endoscopy and that was the last time we saw him conscious. They had to give him a general to band the varices in his oesophagus and since then, despite two attempts, have not been able to get him off the ventilator. He has been in an induced coma since Tuesday afternoon. The consultant says that the biggest problem is he has no muscle in his chest. I was wondering if anyone has been through similar with a loved one and what we might expect. We have been told to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. He is being seen by the gastroenterology consultant tomorrow so I guess they'll be able to tell us more about the liver. Just wonder at this point if he'll ever come off the ventilator? He is 42 years old.



5 Replies

Hi Sara, & even a board certified hepatologist would have trouble predicting whether your brother will pull out of this nose-dive or not.

I've actually read many reports of patients in this exact situation who've come around and stabilized. Unfortunately, there are just as many reports of those who do not.

Preparing for the worst, & hoping for the best really is about all anyone can do in a situation like this. I dearly hope he'll surprise you all soon and be asking what the heck happened. 42 is very young to be taken from the world. Hopefully his youth will work in his favor.

Godspeed, & Best of Luck to you all.

Sorry to hear this Sarah - as metanoia says it’s in the lap of the gods at this stage. One advantage is his age. If he does come through and let’s hope he does- he has to understand that he has to stop drinking - if he does then he has a fighting chance. All the best k

Hi Sarah,

I am very sorry to hear what you are going through.

I was on a ventilator. It took 3 attempts over 3 days to get me off of it. I think it is early days yet.

I hope things improve soon.

Best wishes


I'm so sorry for what you are all going through. My brother was admitted to hospital with internal bleeding, his varices burst, they tried banding them twice but they wouldn't hold so we were told there was no hope other than trying a TIPS procedure but there was no guarantee he'd survive. He was in ICU at the time. That was about a year and a half ago and he is now on the transplant list and has been sober since that day of his bleeding. We knew he had been diagnosed with cirrhosis but not now bad things had become. I hope that your brother pulls through,as we weren't hopeful for our brother but he did it. He was the same age as your brother too.

Hi Sarah firstly sorry to hear about your brother

Secondly I was in a coma a few years ago through a bleed from varices which is probably what has happened to him.

I was put in an induced coma and my family were told the same as you that I wasn't going to make it, they tried to wake me up a few times and ended up with a trachy and after a month I woke up, the drugs are so powerful what they use and because our livers are buggered it takes a while longer for them to go out of our systems ...

I keep everything crossed for you all that he wakes up but it may take time, make sure you look after yourself he will need you all strong for him to lean on x

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