Liver Diseases

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (or PSC) is a disorder in which the bile ducts become inflamed and scarred, leading to liver damage. The cause of PSC is unknown, but there is an association with autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, severe jaundice (yellowing of the skin) with intense itching and steatorrhea (fatty stool).

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you have abnormal liver tests and are concerned about PSC, you should arrange for an appointment with a hepatologist. Diagnosis is made with a combination of blood tests and imaging studies. The blood tests evaluate the liver is function. A very specialized procedure called an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may also be performed to examine the bile ducts and the changes caused by scarring.

Treatment options include medications and surgical procedures. Medications to control the amount of bile in the ducts, or to suppress the immune system may be prescribed. Surgical procedures can open the duct, or placement of a stent to prevent the bile duct from closing. If these treatments fail, a liver transplant may be an option.

The Center for Liver Diseases at NYPBMH is one of the few centers in the region with gastroenterologists who are able to perform ERCP.

As a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, NYPBMH is a participant in the Liver Transplant Program. Our team of hepatologists, nutritionists, nursing and support staff works with the patient throughout the entire process.