Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)

What is primary Sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)?

Primary Sclerosing cholangitis is a liver disease that happens when the liver’s bile ducts slowly decrease in size due to inflammation and scaring. As a result, bile accumulates in the liver and damage to the liver cells occurs.

What is the cause of primary Sclerosing cholangitis?

The exact cause of primary Sclerosing cholangitis is unknown. Research has shown that the following may play a role in the development of PSC

  • Genetics
  • immune system problems
  • bacteria and viruses

What are the symptoms of primary Sclerosing cholangitis?
Primary Sclerosing cholangitis is often diagnosed before symptoms appear.
Early symptoms can include:

  • fatigue
  • itching

As the disease progresses symptoms can include:

  • enlarged liver
  • upper right sided abdominal pain
  • weight loss
  • Jaundice – yellow eyes and skin
  • Fever and chills
  • Night sweats

How is primary Sclerosing cholangitis diagnosed?
Primary Sclerosing cholangitis can be diagnosed by:

  • Blood test – liver function blood work
  • MRI of bile ducts
  • X-rays of bile ducts such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Liver biopsy

How is primary Sclerosing cholangitis treated?
There is no known treatment for primary Sclerosing cholangitis.
Current treatments aim to relieve the symptoms and include:

  • Anti-histamines – for the Itching
  • Antibiotics – to treat infections

Bile duct blockages can be treated with:

  • Balloon dilatation
  • Stent placements

Liver transplantation – only used for liver failure



REMINDER: This information is intended to provide general information and should not be used to base a diagnosis or treatment. Please consult the doctors about your specific condition and the approach for treatment.