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End Stage Liver Disease

Liver Cancer research, treatment and diagnosis discussion

End Stage Liver Disease

Postby cwrig » Wed Jul 30, 2014 3:49 am

My 47 year old brother has been in the ICU for 2 weeks now and on full life support for that length of time as well. Currently, the respiratory therapist is trying to wean him from the full breathing to CPAP for several hours a day. My brother usually lasts for 3 or 4 hours and then his heart rate jumps from 90 to 130 and he is again placed on full support to bring him back. Now, the nurse told me they would be removing his feeding tube and giving him all of his nutrition via an IV and performing a tracheotomy(?) for breathing.(At least I believe she said something that sounded like tracheotomy)...

I would imagine that this is typical for someone as apparently sick as my brother. He has undergone draining of his belly 4 times in 2 weeks and and he goes from being swollen in his hands and feet to not being swollen on a back and forth basis almost daily. He has had varices banded and his ammonia levels I'm sure are high, and he had aspiration pneumonia which he was already treated for last week following the TIPS procedure he had.

Just by knowing what I have typed, I know that there are no "for sures" but what should I expect to happen next? Will his organs begin to shut down? Is the reason for the IV instead of a feeding tube because this is already happening? I know he won't ever walk out of the hospital but what would be a best guess on how much longer he will be able to survive in the state he is in? He seems uncomfortable and he is a fighter but he looks awful...

Thank you for any information you can provide.
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End Stage Liver Disease

Postby berakhiah » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:14 am


I am sorry to hear about your brother's condition and I am sure it is hard on him as well as the family.

There is no way to know how long your brother will survive.  It sounds encouraging that they are able to get your brother off of ventilation for extended periods of time.  It is also encouraging that they are going to feed him through IV instead of PEG.

If your brother is able to communicate coherently, I would suggest asking him what measures he would like to take and to fill out a living will so the doctor's know his wishes.

Very truly yours,

Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.
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Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:12 am

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