Jaundice

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Tests

The goal of testing is to determine the cause of the jaundice and to evaluate the severity of the underlying disease. Initial testing is usually focused on the liver. Specific additional tests, such as viral hepatitis testing or testing to evaluate increased RBC destruction, may be requested with or following the initial tests based on the patient’s clinical findings and the doctor’s suspicions of the cause of the jaundice.

Laboratory Tests

Tests may include:

  • Liver function tests, which usually include total bilirubin, ALT (alanine aminotransferase), ALP (alkaline phosphatase), total protein and albumin
  • Conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin
  • AST (aspartate aminotransferase)
  • GGT (gamma-glutamyl transferase)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • FBC (Full blood count)
  • Reticulocyte count (if FBC is abnormal)
  • PT (prothrombin time)
  • Less commonly requested tests include G6PD (glucose-5-phosphate dehydrogenase), haemoglobin variants, ASMA (anti-smooth muscle antibodies) and ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies),

    Non-Laboratory Tests

    Imaging tests and liver biopsies may be used to help evaluate the status and structure of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. Tests may include:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Cholangiography (an imaging of the bile ducts)
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, imaging of the pancreatic and bile ducts)
  • Liver biopsy
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