Primary sclerosing cholangitis

Also known as: Chronic obliterative cholangitis, Fibrosing cholangitis, Stenosing cholangitis, PSC
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is an inflammatory disease that results in scarring of the bile ducts. It is presumed to be due to a disorder of the immune system and is often associated with other immune diseases of the digestive tract such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

The disease most often occurs in young men and can have symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, fever or weight loss. However, many people do not have any symptoms. PSC is usually detected by blood tests done in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Diagnosis of PSC requires taking a picture of the bile ducts, as there are currently no specific blood tests for the disorder. Bile duct pictures can either be taken externally, using an MRI scanner, or internally, by passing an endoscope into the stomach, threading a catheter through the scope and into the bile duct itself. This procedure is called an ERCP, which has the advantage of allowing areas of the bile duct narrowed by the disease to be dilated using balloons.

Treatment of PSC is supportive, managing symptoms as they develop. Unfortunately, there is no specific therapy for PSC; ultimately most people with PSC require liver transplantation.
Providence Gastrointestinal Center provides state-of-the-art gastroenterology services. Our board-certified gastroenterologists diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system. Providence Gastrointestinal Center is part of a comprehensive program at Providence involving medical and surgical specialties.

The Advanced Endoscopy Center at Providence Gastrointestinal Center diagnoses and treats diseases of the digestive tract, using state-of-the-art technologies not widely available.