Primary biliary cholangitis, formerly called primary biliary cirrhosis, is a disease that causes slow but persistent damage to the bile ducts within the liver. When the bile ducts get damaged, bile made in the liver cannot reach the bloodstream to digest fats. The backed-up bile can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. Primary biliary cholangitis is considered an auto-immune condition. It is caused by the body’s immune system launching an attack on the bile ducts.