Cholangitis is inflammation of the bile ducts. When inflammation leads to the formation of scar tissue that damages and blocks the bile ducts, it's a condition called primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC. Dr. Malone, can you tell us more about PSC?
Of course, Dr. Mansfield. There are bile ducts inside and outside the liver, including the hepatic ducts, cystic duct, and common bile duct. These bile ducts carry bile out of the liver to the gallbladder and the small intestine.
In PSC, inflammation of the bile ducts leads to scar formation and narrowing of the ducts over time. As scarring increases, the ducts eventually become blocked. As a result, bile builds up in the liver and damages liver cells, which can lead to scarring in the liver, called cirrhosis.
PSC can also lead to vitamin deficiencies, infections of the bile ducts, liver failure, and bile duct cancer.
The main symptoms of PSC are itching, fatigue, and jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin. If the bile ducts become infected, it can cause chills and fever. PSC develops slowly, so a person may have the disease for years before having any symptoms.
There is no cure for PSC, so treatment usually involves medications to relieve symptoms and manage complications.