Cirrhosis is the end stage of any condition in which the liver progressively becomes scarred. It is diagnosed based on physical findings as well as a microscopic examination of liver tissue from a biopsy (tissue sample) or evidence from other diagnostic tests such as ultrasound. Under the microscope, cirrhosis appears as widespread bands of fibrous (made up of fibers) tissue that divide the liver into nodules (small knots or collections of tissue). Eventually, cirrhosis interferes with the function of the liver and can lead to liver failure or liver cancer. The February 22/29, 2012, issue of JAMA includes an article on diagnosing cirrhosis.