Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), previously known as primary biliary cirrhosis, is an autoimmune disease of the liver. It results from a slow, progressive destruction of the small bile ducts of the liver, causing bile and other toxins to build up in the liver, a condition called cholestasis. Further slow damage to the liver tissue can lead to scarring, fibrosis, and eventually cirrhosis.
Common symptoms are tiredness, itching, and in more advanced cases, jaundice. In early cases, the only changes may be those seen in blood tests.
PBC is a relatively rare disease, affecting up to one in 3,000–4,000 people. It is much more common in women, with a sex ratio of at least 9:1 female to male.
The condition has been recognised since at least 1851, and was named "primary biliary cirrhosis" in 1949. Because cirrhosis is a feature only of advanced disease, a change of its name to "primary biliary cholangitis" was proposed by patient advocacy groups in 2014.