Primary biliary cirrhosis

Definition of primary biliary cirrhosis

Illustration liver

Primary biliary cirrhosis is one chronic cholestatic Disease of the liverwhich is assumed to be autoimmune.

Epidemiology / frequency

It mainly affects women over 40 years of age. They make up 90% of the patients. Every year about 5 / 100,000 people fall ill, while the prevalence is 40-80 / 100,000 people.

The primary cause is biliary cirrhosis

The autoimmune development of the disease is probably primarily caused by biliary cirrhosis. Often times she goes with other autoimmune diseases like rheumatism hand in hand.

These symptoms can indicate primary biliary cirrhosis

  • itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • agonizing exhaustion
  • Xanthoma deposition
    • Elbow
    • Palms
    • Achilles tendon,
    • Upper and lower eyelid
  • Dark discoloration of the skin due to melanin deposition

In many cases of primary biliary cirrhosis, however, no symptoms occur over a long period of time and only an elevated liver value (Gamma GT) during a routine examination indicates the disease.


  • Steatorrhea
  • Vitamin deficiency for fat-soluble vitamins
  • osteoporosis
  • Gallstones


In the serum the increased Gamma GT in primary biliary cirrhosis, there is also the so-called AMA (A.ntimitochondrial A.antibodies) as well as antibodies against the bile ducts. If there are still doubts after evaluating the blood count, a liver puncture can confirm the diagnosis.


There is a drug available that can help reduce the time to an eventual Liver transplant can be prolonged by the excretion of Bile acids is increased. Also used are forms of therapy that are specific to your own immune system and thus slow down the progression of the autoimmune disease. A liver transplant is indicated in the late stages. Itching and vitamin deficiency can also be treated with medication.


The so-called bilirubin value is used as a prognostic parameter. The higher the value, the shorter the survival rate.

After liver transplantation, the survival rate is good and is 70-90%.

You might also be interested in: Stages of cirrhosis of the liver

Further information

Further information on the subject can be found on the following pages:

  • Fatty liver
  • Gallbladder pain
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Gallstones
  • Jaundice
  • hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Stages of cirrhosis of the liver
  • Portal hypertension