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Diagnosis of Cirrhosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Finding the disease early can lead to early treatment. This can slow or stop damage.

Blood tests will be done to look for signs of liver problems, such as:

  • Elevated liver enzymes—a sign of liver damage
  • Elevated bilirubin—causes the skin and whites of the eyes to become yellow (jaundice)
  • Low albumin—a sign that the liver is not making enough of this needed protein
  • Blood clotting problems

A liver biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis. A needle is used to take a small sample of tissue from the liver. A lab will look for signs of scarring or disease in the tissue.

Other tests may be done to look for the cause or severity of cirrhosis.

REFERENCES:

Cirrhosis. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/cirrhosis. Accessed January 6, 2021.

Cirrhosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/cirrhosis. Accessed January 6, 2021.

Cirrhosis of the liver. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cirrhosis-of-the-liver-31. Accessed January 6, 2021.

Ge PS, Runyon BA. Treatment of Patients with Cirrhosis. N Engl J Med. 2016 Aug 25;375(8):767-777.

Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 1/8/2021