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Sclerosing cholangitis

  • Definition

    Sclerosing cholangitis refers to swelling (inflammation), scarring, and destruction of the bile ducts inside and outside of the liver.

    Alternative Names

    Primary sclerosing cholangitis; PSC

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    In this condition, the bile ducts inside and outside the liver become narrowed and scarred.

    The cause is often unknown.

    The disease is often seen in patients who have:

    • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Chronic pancreatitis
    • Many autoimmune disorders

    Genetic factors may also be responsible. Sclerosing cholangitis occurs more often in men than women. This disorder is rare in children.

    Sclerosing cholangitis may also be caused by:

    • Choledocholithiasis
    • Toxicity from chemicals, copper, bile acids
    • Infections in the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts