Nutmeg Liver: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

 Likes  Comments

Nutmeg liver is the common name for a very serious disease, so understanding of its signs, symptoms, and potential treatment options is very important.

What is Nutmeg Liver?

Nutmeg liver is a condition characterized by the liver taking on the appearance of a speckled nutmeg kernel. This condition is typically caused by some type of venous congestion, resulting in congestion in the liver cells. The dark speckles on the liver represent those congested vessels, while the pale areas around it are the unaffected liver tissue. The formal name for this condition is congestive hepatopathy, although it may be referred to as cardiac cirrhosis if the condition is directly caused by congestive heart failure.

Causes of Nutmeg Liver

As mentioned above, the primary cause of nutmeg liver is congestive heart failure on the right side of the heart. When cardiac lesions are present, the pressure in hepatic veins will increase, because the blood is essentially being blocked from flowing normally through the vena cava. When this blockage occurs, congestion in the liver cannot be avoided, resulting in the many unpleasant side effects and symptoms of this condition.

Signs & Symptoms of Nutmeg Liver

The major symptoms of nutmeg liver include jaundice, gastrointestinal problems, and the vomiting of blood or bile, among others. If your liver isn’t working properly, it will have effects throughout your body, because it cannot appropriately filter out toxins or clean your blood. Your stool will change color and become tan or clay-colored, while your urine will be colored and dyed by excess bile. Tenderness in your torso will occur, and part of your gut may feel distended; this is the liver swelling beyond its normal size.

Diagnosis of Nutmeg Liver

Diagnosing this condition can be done in a number of ways, including a physical examination and various laboratory tests. A physical examination and discussion of symptoms can often be enough to make an educated guess about the underlying problem, but a liver function test can also be conducted to determine if there is a major blockage in that organ system.

Treatment for Nutmeg Liver

When it comes to treating this condition, your best option is to treat the underlying cause, which is right-sided heart failure. If you can treat that congestion and blockage, it will allow blood to pass normally through the liver, reducing inflammation, swelling, and relevant side effects.

DMCA.com Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

Rate this article
Average rating 3.8 out of 5.0 based on 64 user(s).

Latest Health News:

a napkin with the text mind full or mindful with a cup of tea besides it

Mindfulness May Yield Better Results Against Opioid Use

If you ever wondered about the benefits of the practice of mindfulness, there is a new study that highlights it well. According to new research, mindfulness…

READ MORE
Pencil eraser erasing cancer text written on a white background

Compound To Kill Chemotherapy-Resistant Cells In Glioblastoma Identified

Cancerous cells of glioblastoma, the tumor that can start spreading from the brain, are notorious for their resistance to chemotherapies and radiation…

READ MORE
animated ebola virus representation

Ebola Vaccine Granted Approval

In a significant step towards fighting the Ebola virus, the European Medicines Agency has granted conditional marketing authorization for Ervebo, the first…

READ MORE