The liver, the largest organ in the body, is essential for keeping the body functioning properly. It removes or neutralizes poisons from the blood, produces immune agents to control infection and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. It also makes proteins that regulate blood clotting and produces bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Life cannot be sustained without a functioning liver. Liver disease – including hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer - is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Hepatitis C alone is five times as wide spread as HIV and affects more than 4 million people nationally.

To help lead the way in liver disease treatment and research, the Saint Louis University Liver Center was designated a center of excellence in December 2001. The Center is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and prevention. Named one of the best digestive disorders centers in the nation by U.S.News & World Report in their annual “America’s Best Hospitals” issue, the specialists in the Saint Louis University Liver Center and at Saint Louis University Hospital are known for advancing the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases. They’re also seeking early liver disease detection methods as well as ways to reduce the risk of getting liver disease. This Quick Reference is a part of the effort. Here you’ll find the most commonly diagnosed liver diseases along with incidence rates, risk factors or causes, symptoms, diagnostic methods and treatment modalities.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a liver disease, have liver disease symptoms or find you’re at risk of developing a liver disease, get regular checkups by your doctor or call (314) 268-5880 or (800) 268-5880 for a referral to a SLUCare liver specialist.