Liver Disease and Hepatology

There are many types of liver disease, and the multidisciplinary team at the University of Michigan’s Hepatology Program has the expertise to comprehensively treat all of them as well as help prevent certain diseases. As one of the largest and oldest liver programs in the country, we offer our patients the latest in diagnostics and treatments along with a robust research program to provide novel treatment therapies before they are available in clinical practice. Hepatology focuses on the liver, the largest organ inside the body. The liver has many important jobs, including changing food into energy, making bile to help with the digestion of food, and getting rid of toxins from the body.

Treating Liver Disease and Other Liver Problems

At the University of Michigan Hepatology Program, we diagnose and manage the entire range of liver disease. Our mission is to provide innovative, comprehensive, and compassionate care to patients affected by liver diseases, including:

  • Acute liver failure: A rapid loss of liver function.
  • Hepatitis B and C: Caused by the hepatitis B and C viruses, both of these liver diseases can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer when the infection is chronic.
  • Autoimmune liver diseases: These inflammatory diseases are caused by immune cells attacking the liver and can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis: Damaged bile ducts in the liver; can lead to scarring of the liver tissue and cirrhosis.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis: A bile duct disease where chronic inflammation and scarring can lead to obstruction of the flow of bile and infections as well as liver damage and liver failure.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Inflammation and scarring from fat buildup in the liver in people who have metabolic abnormalities such as obesity and diabetes.
  • Cirrhosis: A slow deterioration and scarring of the liver due to chronic injury.

Taking Care of Hepatology Complications

We provide treatment for complications of liver diseases, such as:

  • Portal hypertension: An increase in blood pressure within the portal vein (which brings blood from digestive organs to the liver), commonly caused by cirrhosis. This can in turn lead to variceal bleeding (rupture of blood vessels in the food pipe), ascites (fluid build-up in the abdomen), and encephalopathy (mental confusion).
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma: The most common primary malignant tumor of the liver, usually due to scarring of the liver.
  • Liver transplantation: The surgical replacement of a badly diseased liver with a healthy liver or segment of a healthy liver from a human organ donor.

University of Michigan Hepatology Clinics

We offer a number of clinics to best serve our hepatology patients with liver disease. Some clinics are conveniently available at multiple locations. Visit our Hepatology Clinics page for more information.

Clinical Studies and Research for Liver Diseases

All patients seen in any of the University of Michigan Hepatology Clinics, who are potential candidates for new therapies and other research protocols, are referred for participation in clinical trials.

Our hepatologists are actively engaged in clinical research into novel therapies, improved diagnostic modalities, and predictors of outcome. Our faculty play key roles in multiple clinical research networks including for acute liver failure, biomarkers for early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma, drug-induced liver injury, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The program is also involved in many clinical studies that evaluate new therapies for various liver diseases, including hepatitis B and C, fatty liver disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma.  

To learn more about clinical studies and research for liver diseases, visit our Clinical Studies page.

Other Information About Digestive and Liver Health

To see related gastroenterological medical services we offer, visit our Digestive and Liver Health overview page.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment with the University of Michigan Hepatology Program, call 888-229-7408.