Although the liver often can recover from injury, extensive disease to the organ sometimes makes this impossible. When 80-90% of liver function is lost, a liver transplant is the only treatment option. Liver failure can happen suddenly or slowly, over many years.
There are many types of disease which preclude the liver from healing itself and which progress to end-stage liver disease. Basically, these diseases can be grouped into four categories:
Diseases, which directly affect liver cells, such as viral hepatitis, Wilson's disease and hemochromatosis.
Diseases which produce changes in the structure of the liver Examples include cirrhosis and polycystic liver disease
Diseases which affect the blood supply to the liver, including portal hypertension and congenital fibrotic disease; and
Diseases that interfere with the blood supply from the liver, such as Budd Chiari syndrome.