Nursing Interventions for Liver Cirrhosis


  • Monitor vital signs, intake and output and electrolyte levels to determine fluid volume status.
  • Maintain some periods of rest with legs elevated to mobilize edema and ascites. Alternate rest periods with ambulation.
  • To assess fluid retention, measure and record abdominal girth every shift. Weight the patient daily and document his weight.
  • Administer diuretics, potassium and protein or vitamin supplements as ordered.
  • Restrict sodium and fluid intake as ordered.
  • Observe and document for bleeding gums, ecchymoses, epistaxis, petechiae and degree of sclerae, skin jaundice. Remain with the patient during the hemorrhagic episodes.
  • Inspect stools for amount, color and consistency. Test stools and vomitus for occult blood as ordered.
  • Watch for signs of anxiety, epigastric fullness, restlessness and weakness.
  • Observe closely for signs of behavioral or personality changes. Report increasing stupor, lethargy, hallucinations or neuromuscular dysfunction. Arouse the patient periodically to determine level of consciousness. Watch for asterixis, a sign of developing encephalopathy.
  • Allow the patient to express his feelings about having cirrhosis. Offer psychological support and encouragement, when appropriate.
  • Warn the patient against taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, straining to defecate and blowing his nose or sneezing vigorously to minimize the risk of bleeding. Suggest using an electric razor and a soft toothbrush.
  • Advise the patient that rest and good nutrition conserve energy and decrease metabolic demands on the liver. Urge him to eat frequent, small meals.
  • Teach him to alternate periods of rest and activity to reduce oxygen demand and prevent fatigue.

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