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Liver Disease

Liver Disease2019-02-06T14:44:14+00:00

Our Program

Our Liver Disease Program at Keck Medicine of USC is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind, providing state-of-the-art, exceptional treatment for the full range of diseases and complications affecting the liver. Keck Medicine at USC experts from virtually every specialty area collaborate with our renowned liver specialists to provide effective and complete multidisciplinary care.

Recognized as a leader in innovative care, our team is committed to thoroughly researching and understanding the underlying mechanisms of liver disease. This collaborative and dedicated effort has afforded us the knowledge to develop and advance increasingly effective and curative treatments for serious conditions.

Our Approach

We are dedicated to providing coordinated, comprehensive care, as well as advancing research in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the liver. As a patient, you will receive personalized, patient-centered care by a team of highly skilled experts from a wide range of specialties, determined by your particular treatment and procedure needs. These may include transplant surgeons, hepatologists, imaging experts, radiation oncologists, nutritionists, pathologists, geneticists and nurse specialists. Your team of experts will consult with you and your referring physician, if applicable, to design an individualized treatment plan to produce the best possible outcome available to you. After treatment, we will continue to monitor your progress with frequent follow-ups for as long as necessary.

Hepatology Program

Dedicated hepatologists provide comprehensive care for all conditions affecting the liver. Specifically, our team has expertise in the treatment of viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease and liver cancer. Additionally, we provide care for pre and post liver transplant patients.

Patients benefit from the unique expertise of our hepatologists, as well as access to new, cutting-edge treatments via multicenter clinical trials. Patients have access to a variety of specialists also located on on the Keck Medical Center campus. For patients who have received a liver cancer diagnosis, they will be assigned a multidisciplinary liver cancer team. Together, with our hepatologists, the team is comprised of oncologists, surgeons and radiologists who all collaborate to discuss and implement patient treatment plans.


Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic condition that may result in serious lung disease and/or serious lung disease.

Ascites is a condition caused by severe liver damage, characterized by abnormal accumulation fluid in the abdominal cavity. The most common cause of ascites is cirrhosis.

Autoimmune Hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks liver cells causing the inflammation of the liver.

Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, is a cancer that originates in the bile ducts.

Cirrhosis is the last stage of chronic liver disease. Cirrhosis is characterized by poor liver function and scarring.

Fatty liver
Fatty liver, caused by obesity, diabetes or dyslipidemia, affects approximately 18 million people nationwide. In two-to-five percent of these individuals, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – chronic inflammation and damage to the liver – will develop, eventually leading to cirrhosis and in some cases, cancer. Fatty liver is currently the second leading reason patients require liver transplants. No FDA-approved treatment exists.

Hepatic encephalopathy
Hepatic encephalopathy is the presentation of neurological symptoms as a result of liver damage. Hepatic encephalopathy may present as forgetfulness, confusion or altered level of consciousness.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is irritation and swelling of the liver caused by an infection of the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver, affects approximately 3.2 million people nationwide and is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis, two conditions that often require liver transplantation. Keck Medicine of USC is a regional leader in hepatitis C expertise, and in the development of an appropriate regimen for its treatment.

Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma is liver cancer that originates in the liver and accounts for most liver cancers.

Liver transplantation
Liver transplantation may add years of life to those who face certain death from cancer, cirrhosis and other diseases of the liver. No longer a novel, exotic procedure with unpredictable outcomes, the demand for liver transplants continues to climb, as does the incidence of hepatitis, fatty liver and cancer. As health care improves, the supply of available organs remains limited. In addition to organ transplantation, our Living Donor Liver Transplant Program addresses the organ shortage by replacing a diseased liver with a portion of a healthy liver from a live donor. Within weeks, both livers grow to normal size. As one of the pioneering experts in this field, and the only center in Southern California with an active program, our surgeons have performed close to 300 living donor procedures. Visit our liver transplant page for more information.

Portal hypertension
Portal hypertension is an increase in blood pressure in the portal vein, which is connected to the veins in the stomach, intestine, spleen, pancreas and liver. When the vessels of the liver are blocked, it may lead to an increase in blood pressure in the portal vein.

Primary biliary cholangitis
Primary biliary cholangitis is an autoimmune condition in which the bile ducts become inflamed and eventually, collapse leading to liver damage and possibly, cirrhosis.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Primary biliary cholangitis is a condition in which inflammation of the bile ducts leads to scarring causing the ducts to harden and narrow. Gradually, this condition causes liver damage.

Varices are dilated blood vessels in the abdomen that result from portal hypertension. Varices usually present without symptoms unless they rupture or bleed. Ruptured or bleeding varices require immediate medical attention.

Viral Hepatitis
Viral Hepatitis is most commonly caused by hepatitis A, B, C, D or E.

Wilson Disease
Wilson disease is a rare genetic disorder in which the body has too much copper. The copper damages the liver and the nervous system.


A colonoscopy is a diagnostic test that allows physicians to examine the lower part of the large intestine

Keck Medicine of USC hepatologists use endoscopy to examine and diagnose the digestive tract. An endoscope is a device that contains a camera, which is passed through the esophagus to better examine the esophagus, stomach and small intestine.

FibroScan is a non-invasive, diagnostic test that measures the stiffness of a patient’s liver. Chronic liver diseases may lead to liver fibrosis, or the accumulation of scar tissue in the liver.

Paracentesis is the removal of liquid from the abdomen, usually caused by chronic liver diseases or cancer, for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

Our Physicians

Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area.