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DrRussMD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 64923
Experience:  Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, health, prevention, complementary medicine, etc.
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My husband died Aug. 23rd of cirrhosis of the liver. It

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My husband died Aug. 23rd of cirrhosis of the liver. It happened within a month. There was no clue until July 15th when I sent him to his doctor because he look slightly jaundiced. A CT scan was done and we were told he had liver cancer and cirrhosis. A later blood test came back negative for cancer but the tumor was said to be "baseball-sized." He was a heavy drinker in his 20's but had not had a drink or a cigarette for 32 years. He was obese for about 35 years. He was diabetic but that was fairly well-controlled by 3 diabetes meds (Metformin, Glipizide, Januvia). He also was on Simvastatin and a med for thyroid replacement, plus low-dose Aspirin. In recent months he was working out faithfully and losing weight but would remark that he couldn't seem to lose the belly fat. Other than that, there seem to have been no clues or symptoms unless he didn't feel well and just never told me (possible--he did have very low energy and chronic poor sleep). I am so devastated over this seemingly sudden loss. Even his doctors cannot seem to explain it, especially as his quarterly blood work was always fine for liver function all the way through May. Have you any insights? Thank you, Donna
Hello from JA
I am very sorry to hear about your husband.
Let me ask you, was there an autopsy?
what findings?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was never asked if I wanted an autopsy and did not think of it.


What did they list as the cause of death?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Cirrhosis of the liver

Without work up, biopsy, it is hard to even speculate.
Let me put it this way.
End stage cirrhosis has a high and rapid mortality.
It might not have been from drinking at all, but could have been from chronic hepatitis
Or autoimmune hepatitis.
Or hepatitis from hemochromatosis.
So, any of these could lead to cirrhosis over time, if sub clinical an chronic.
Without lab samples it is impossible to comment on the tumor. This was probably secondary to the chronic liver inflammation and scarring.
Men tend to tough things out and ignore minor symptoms. He might have had only minor symptoms, if any, for years.
So this is my insight so far.
Please let me know if you have further questions.
Just use reply to expert as needed.
Please don’t forget a positive rating.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your response, although really I knew all of what you said. They never got so far as the biopsy because they were trying to do it with the results of the CT-scan, guided by ultrasound, and would not proceed for fear of nicking a blood vessel or artery. They wanted an MRI, and he did not even live to that appointment. His kidneys failed and Maine Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit said there was nothing they could do. I'm sure he probably "toughed it out." One question if you could speculate: do you think chronic insominia (as in the whole 44 years we were together) would impact the liver?? Thanks, Donna

Hello again.
No not that we know of, however, if it was due to sleep apnea it could affect the heart and even cause heart failure.
Also it could cause hypertension.
IN some cases of liver disease, the kidneys fail as well. The exact reaons for this are unclear. However this is almost uniformly fatal when it happens, and we dread it even with hospitalized patients with known medical history.
I believe the best guess is that chronic liver disease went on for quite some time and was not discovered, even at the end apparently.
I would suggest that you get checked out, specifically for hepatitis C and B, just to be safe.
Please let me know if you have further questions.
Please don’t forget a positive rating.
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