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SOUTH DENVER GASTROENTEROLOGY, P.C.

Liver Diseases

The liver performs many important functions in the body, including filtering the blood of harmful toxins and breaking down fat. The South Denver GI provider team has expertise in treating all liver diseases. Dr. Kyrsten Fairbanks and Dr. Marcelo Kugelmas are both fellowship-trained in hepatology and recognized for their expertise in treating complex liver conditions. 

At South Denver GI, innovation is core to the high-quality care we provide to patients. We were the first GI practice in Denver to provide Fibroscan, an FDA-approved non-invasive diagnostic device used to measure liver scarring or fibrosis caused by a number of liver diseases. To better support our patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, South Denver GI is now offering NovoLiver – a comprehensive, subscription-based healthy lifestyle and weight loss program.

Our clinical research team is solely focused on advancing the treatment of liver diseases, with five to seven trials active at any given time.

Alcoholic Cirrhosis

Consuming large amounts of alcohol over time damages the liver and causes healthy tissue to be replaced with scar tissue. As scar tissue accumulates, the liver can no longer function properly. Advanced cirrhosis is life-threatening.

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Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis is liver inflammation caused by drinking too much alcohol. The most common sign of alcoholic hepatitis is yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).

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Ascites

When the liver does not function normally, fluid builds up in spaces within your abdomen. This is a condition known as ascites. Severe cases of ascites may be painful and uncomfortable.

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Autoimmune Hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets the liver, which can lead to inflammation and damage to the liver cells. If you already have an autoimmune condition, you may be more likely to develop autoimmune hepatitis.

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Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a late-stage liver disease that results in scarring of the liver from different types of liver diseases and conditions. Once developed, cirrhosis is a lifelong condition that makes the liver unable to function properly.

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Elevated Liver Function Tests

Liver function tests measure how well the liver is performing its normal functions and can be used to help diagnose liver damage. Abnormal liver tests warrant follow up with a doctor to determine potential causes and next steps.

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Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy is a nervous system disorder brought on by severe liver disease. There are three types of hepatic encephalopathy - Type A, B or C. Common symptoms may include irritability or anxiety, balance problems, confusion or impaired judgment or difficulty concentrating.

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End-Stage Liver Disease (ESLD)

Irreversible damage to the liver and the way it functions leads to end-stage liver disease. For most patients, the most effective treatment for ESLD is a liver transplant.

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Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD and NASH)

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is excess fat stored in the liver. The number of Americans with NAFLD is rising, with the disease now occurring in 30-40% of adults. People who have diabetes or are overweight are at greater risk for NAFLD. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is inflammation and damage of the liver caused by a buildup of fat. The condition is most common in adults 40-60 who are overweight and obese. NASH can worsen over time and lead to cirrhosis, scarring of the liver.

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Fibroscan

South Denver GI is the first gastroenterology practice in Denver to offer FibroScan, a noninvasive test that measures liver stiffness and serves as a tool for providers to manage liver disease.

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Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver, with many different forms. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Hepatitis can be caused by heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications and certain medical conditions.

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Hepatitis A, B, and C (Viral)

Viral hepatitis is an infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. These infections can range from mild illness to a chronic, life-long condition. Upon diagnosis, your South Denver GI provider will create a personalized treatment plan to help you manage hepatitis.

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Liver Cancer

When liver cells develop mutations in their DNA and grow out of control, liver cancer may occur. Certain factors raise your risk of developing liver cancer, including cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis B.

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Liver Masses

Treatment for liver masses will depend on if they are benign or cancerous and the size of the lesions. In the case of the liver, these abnormal growths may be caused by scarring from chronic liver disease, smoking or hormones found in birth control pills.

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Portal Hypertension

The portal vein is a major vein leading to the liver. When there is elevated pressure in your portal venous system, portal hypertension can occur. This is commonly caused by cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver and thrombosis (clotting).

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Primary Biliary Cholangitis

Primary Biliary Cholangitis is an autoimmune disease that causes progressive destruction of the bile ducts. There is no cure for this condition, but medication can help delay disease progression.

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Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

This chronic disease slowly damages the bile duct through inflammation and scarring. Over time, bile builds up in the liver and gradually damages liver cells, causing cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver.

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Varices (or esophageal varices, gastric varices)

Most common in individuals with serious liver disease, esophageal varices are enlarged veins in the esophagus. These abnormal veins typically develop due to obstructed blood flow through the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestine, pancreas and spleen to the liver.

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Wilson's disease

Normally, copper is absorbed in food and excreted through bile produced in the liver. For patients diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, copper is not absorbed and removed from the body and instead builds up in the liver, brain and other organs over time.

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Procedures & Prep

Find detailed instructions for your upcoming procedure at South Denver GI, including prep instructions for a colonoscopy or fleets enema. These instructions are available for PDF download. Call 303-788-8888 with any questions about your procedure or prep instructions.

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Request Appointment

Click on the Schedule Appointment button to schedule an appointment with your South Denver GI provider online. If you do not wish to use our convenient online scheduling tool, please fill out the form below and our team will contact you shortly.