Digestive System Home > Secondary Biliary Cirrhosis

A person may develop secondary biliary cirrhosis as a result of gallstones, congenital biliary atresia, pericholangitis, or a number of other conditions that can obstruct the large bile ducts outside of the liver. Secondary biliary cirrhosis occurs when these or other conditions cause the common bile duct or its major branches to become either partially or totally blocked on a long-term basis. Symptoms of secondary biliary cirrhosis can include bone pain, arthritis, and a fever. X-rays and a liver biopsy are among the tests that may be used to diagnose the condition.

What Is Secondary Biliary Cirrhosis?

Secondary biliary cirrhosis is a condition that develops because of long-term partial or total obstruction of the large bile ducts outside of the liver (known as the common bile duct and its major branches). When the ducts are damaged, bile (which is a substance that helps digest fat) builds up in the liver and damages the liver tissue.
 
Over time, the secondary biliary cirrhosis can progress and even make the liver stop working.
 

Cause of Secondary Biliary Cirrhosis

Causes of secondary biliary cirrhosis may include:
 
  • Narrowing (strictures) of the bile duct following gallbladder surgery
  • Gallstones
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pericholangitis
  • Idiopathic sclerosing cholangitis
  • Congenital biliary atresia
  • Cystic fibrosis.
     
All of these conditions can cause secondary biliary cirrhosis because they cause long-term partial or complete obstruction of the common bile duct or its major branches.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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