A Brief Introduction to Liver Calcification
Liver calcification refers to the calcium deposits that have hardened in the liver. These tend to show up in ultrasounds or CT scans and many people worry that calcification is an early indication of cancer. Liver calcification is sometimes also referred to as hepatic calcification.
Liver is a critical organ in the human body that is part of the digestive system and plugs in to perform various other functions as well. It helps in the production of amino acids, which are essential for the body to function, and the liver also serves as a filter. The liver is responsible for pulling out the toxins that can affect the body and for flushing them out. The liver plays an important role in keeping the body’s functions in balance. It is, therefore, not surprising that many a patient feels alarmed at the news that there are calcifications in the liver according to an ultrasound or CT scan. There is the very real concern that this is indicative of a break down in an important organ in the body.
The good news is that most of the time liver calcification is indicative of natural healing processes. It is probably some old injury of infection that has been covered over by this tissue which has hardened over time. So, most of the time liver calcification does not need any immediate medical intervention in the form of pills or surgery. Sometimes doctors suggest that a patient have a follow-up ultrasound or CT scan to assess the stability of the organ to ensure that no further action is necessary.
In cases where a liver calcification is spotted in a child, doctors may suggest more frequent follow-ups. Calcification is the body’s response to limit the impact of an intrusive parasite such as a virus or a bacterium. It is comparable to building a wall around a bothersome pest. Experts say that the incidence of hepatic calcification in infants is that out of 10,000 children 6-10 may be found to have these growths. If the calcification is on the surface of the liver, the most likely cause is peritonitis or inflammation of the abdominal cavity. This happens when the fetal bowel ruptures during child birth and some of the stool or meconium leaks into the abdomen.
The body responds by limiting the damage and the liver calcification happens. Sometimes there are blood clots in the veins leading to liver tissue which can mean that the tissue gets insufficient blood supply and dies. The dead tissue calcifies subsequently. In cases where some infection is passed from the mother to the child, there may be resultant liver infections and calcification would have been needed to limit the impact of the infection. Sometimes it is found that excessive use of over the counter drugs can lead to liver calcification in children.
These are some of the most often seen causes of liver calcification. By educating yourself about the role of the liver, and seeing that a calcification does not really alter the functioning of the organ you can approach the situation with calm logic rather than panic. This is an asset when dealing with any given health problem. Moreover, this will also help you approach your doctor as an informed patient and you can work together to find answers. A doctor or specialist will be able to point out the exact reason for the calcification in a patient and will be able to recommend the appropriate course of action. As mentioned earlier, in most cases no intervention will be needed.