Comprehensive Care for Liver Disease

Liver disease can happen to anyone. There are dozens of conditions that affect the liver, and many of them can lead to complete liver failure, a life-threatening condition that needs urgent medical care. Sometimes people don’t know they have a liver problem until it becomes serious.

Today, though, the outlook for people with liver disease is much brighter. Advanced treatments help many people live longer, feel better and in some cases recover completely. And Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is at the forefront of this care.

Our team treats the full range of liver conditions—from abnormal liver function tests with no symptoms to liver failure to liver transplantation and more. In fact, we do more liver transplants than any health care center in New England.

We combine our skills and expertise to give each patient the personalized care they need. Our coordinated team approach to treating liver disease leads to healing, recovery and the chance to live a full life.

Diagnosing Liver Disease

Gastrointestinal specialists at Lahey will choose the right combination of tests to get an accurate diagnosis. Your care team may use one or more of these tests to get an accurate diagnosis:

  • Blood tests. A blood sample shows your levels of certain enzymes and proteins that indicate how well your liver is functioning. These tests may be part of a regular checkup or done to help diagnose a problem if you have symptoms.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. ERCP is done in our Advanced Endoscopy Center. It’s used to diagnose problems of the bile ducts, which carry bile from your liver to your gallbladder.
  • Imaging. Tests such as CT, ultrasound and MRI can help your provider pinpoint your liver condition. We also use an advanced test called MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography). This special type of MRI makes detailed images of the biliary system, which includes bile ducts inside and outside the liver.
  • Liver biopsy. If your blood test or symptoms show that your liver may not be functioning properly, your team may recommend a biopsy. During a liver biopsy, a provider takes a small sample of liver tissue to be analyzed.

Cutting Edge Treatments

Whether your liver condition is common or complex, your team at Lahey has the skills and tools to give successfully treat your condition. Depending on your specific diagnosis, your team may recommend medications, surgery or both. Lifestyle changes, such as not drinking alcohol or losing weight, can also make a difference.

Our patients also benefit from our clinical trials. Researchers at Lahey are looking for new and better treatments for conditions such as chronic hepatitis, liver failure, complications of cirrhosis, portal hypertension and liver transplantation. Our patients have access to advanced therapies for these and other conditions that aren’t available elsewhere.

Liver Transplantation

If your liver disease progresses to liver failure, our liver transplant program can help. Our extensive experience in this area includes a number of firsts—we did both the first successful liver transplant and the first live adult-donor liver transplant in New England. Our live adult donor liver transplant program is the largest in the U.S.

These accomplishments give us a deep understanding of how to care for transplant patients. Our team includes surgeons, liver specialists, nurses, nutritionists, social workers and others who all specialize in liver transplantation and care for you with respect and compassion.

Ongoing Care and Support

Your care doesn’t end when you leave our hospital. We help with a successful transition to home with follow-up care and support. Depending on your liver condition, we monitor your recovery and make recommendations so you continue healing.

For our transplant patients, we help with managing the medications they take after their surgery. We connect you with support groups where you can share your experiences. You can count on us to be with you every step of the way and to keep you and your family at the center of your care.