Current status of liver diseases in Korea: liver cirrhosis.Korean J Hepatol. 2009 Dec; 15 Suppl 6:S40-9.KJ
Liver cirrhosis represents the final common pathway of virtually all chronic liver diseases, and is characterized by an accumulation of extracellular matrix rich in fibrillar collagens. Patients with cirrhosis are at risk of developing many potential complications. The most common complication seen in patients with liver cirrhosis is ascites, and the most lethal one is bleeding varices. Other intermediate and late stage complications include spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatic encephalopathy, and hepatorenal syndrome. The mortality and morbidity attributable to liver disease in Korea have decreased continuously over the past decades, probably due to the implementation of universal vaccination and potent antiviral therapies. In addition, recent advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of cirrhosis and in various management approaches to cirrhosis complications will contribute to the steady improvement in patient outcomes in this country. This review article outlines recent changes in etiologies and prognosis, and the advances in management of cirrhosis in Korea.