What is primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)?

Updated: Nov 08, 2017
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), formerly known as primary biliary cirrhosis, is a chronic disease of the liver, presumably autoimmune in nature, that leads to progressive cholestasis and often end-stage liver disease (see the image below). The name change reflects the fact that cirrhosis occurs only in the late stage and therefore does not correctly identify patients with early-stage disease. [1]

PBC is most frequently a disease of women and occurs between the fourth and sixth decades of life.

This histologic picture is compatible with stage 2 This histologic picture is compatible with stage 2 primary biliary cholangitis.

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