Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary

Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • A chronic and progressive T-cell–mediated liver disease characterized by granulomatous destruction of intrahepatic bile ducts (1)
  • If untreated, primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) can lead to cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver failure and the need for possible liver transplantation (2).


  • PBC primarily affects women; female:male ratio of 8 to 10:1 (1,2)
  • Peak age: 40 to 60 years; rare in children (2)

  • Rare, present in all parts of the world and all races and nationalities; more common in Northern European countries and in the Northern United States
  • Annual incidence: 0.7 to 49/1,000,000
  • Prevalence: 4 to 14/100,000 (2)

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • PBC is caused by a T-cell–mediated attack on biliary epithelial cells primarily small, intrahepatic bile ducts.
  • Destruction causes cholestasis, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure.
  • Bile duct destruction leads to retained bile acids and foamy hepatocyte degeneration (2).

  • Monozygotic twin concordance as high as 63% (2)
  • Family predisposition: 1–6% of individuals with PBC have at least one family member with the disease (3).
  • Having a first-degree relative with PBC significantly increases the risk, odds ratio (OR) of 11 (1).

Risk Factors

  • PBC primarily occurs in genetically susceptible people exposed to specific environmental triggers (1,2,3).
  • Some studies have suggested that infection (bacterial and viral) may be a trigger.
  • Clusters of cases suggest a possible role of a range of environmental toxins.
  • Smoking increases risk of progression of fibrosis.
  • PBC risk is increased following pregnancy-related pruritus or cholestasis in genetically susceptible individuals (1).

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • PBC associated with: Sjögren syndrome, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, autoimmune thyroiditis, Raynaud phenomenon, sarcoidosis, pulmonary fibrosis, polymyositis, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis (2)
  • 53% have one or more concurrent autoimmune conditions (1,2).
  • Overlap syndrome with autoimmune hepatitis in 5–19%. Diagnosis is difficult and prognosis worse (1).
  • Cirrhotic PBC increases relative risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC occurs 1–6% of patients with PBC per year (1).

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/117415/all/Cirrhosis__Primary_Biliary.
Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/117415/all/Cirrhosis__Primary_Biliary. Accessed April 25, 2019.
Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/117415/all/Cirrhosis__Primary_Biliary
Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 25]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/117415/all/Cirrhosis__Primary_Biliary.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Cirrhosis, Primary Biliary ID - 117415 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/117415/all/Cirrhosis__Primary_Biliary PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -