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How is Liver Cirrhosis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing liver cirrhosis involves a comprehensive evaluation, including clinical assessment, blood tests, imaging studies, liver biopsy, and various screening tests for complications.

  • 12 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read
  • 27 views

Introduction

Diagnosing Liver Cirrhosis is a vital process that combines various medical assessments to ascertain the extent of liver damage. This complex condition often develops silently. Hence, it is important to know the diagnostic process accurately. Physicians employ various tools, from blood tests and imaging studies to invasive procedures like liver biopsy, to comprehensively evaluate liver function and structure. The timely and precise identification of cirrhosis is crucial for initiating effective treatments and managing potential complications. Here, we will help you understand the intricate diagnostic journey essential for addressing the complexities of Liver Cirrhosis.

Diagnosis of Liver Cirrhosis

Here's an overview of the Liver Cirrhosis diagnosis process:

  • Clinical Evaluation

Clinical evaluation involves a thorough assessment of the patient's medical history, including any liver-related symptoms, alcohol consumption, and risk factors. It also includes evaluation for physical signs of cirrhosis, such as jaundice, ascites, spider angiomas, and splenomegaly.

  • Blood Tests

Blood tests measure levels of liver enzymes (ALT, AST, ALP), bilirubin, and albumin. Elevated levels may indicate liver dysfunction. They also help in detecting anaemia, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia, common in cirrhosis.

  • Imaging Studies

Ultrasound provides a non-invasive assessment of the liver structure, detecting liver nodules, irregularities, and signs of portal hypertension.

CT Scan or MRI offers detailed imaging, helping to evaluate liver architecture and identify complications like portal vein thrombosis.

  • Liver Biopsy

An invasive procedure involves obtaining a small liver tissue sample for microscopic examination. Definitive diagnosis confirms cirrhosis and assesses the degree of fibrosis and inflammation. While informative, liver biopsy carries risks, such as bleeding and infection.

  • Fibro Scan

It measures liver stiffness using ultrasound technology, indicating fibrosis. It offers a rapid evaluation of liver fibrosis without requiring an invasive procedure.

  • Transient Elastography

It is similar to Fibro Scan. It measures liver stiffness using ultrasound waves. It provides numerical values correlating with the degree of fibrosis.

  • Endoscopy

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) identifies and assesses the severity of Esophageal varices, a common complication of cirrhosis. Variceal Screening allows for early intervention to prevent variceal bleeding.

  • Viral Hepatitis Screening

Hepatitis B and C Tests identify viral infections contributing to cirrhosis. It determines the underlying cause and guides appropriate therapeutic interventions.

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Test

It monitors the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a complication of cirrhosis. It is essential for early detection and intervention if HCC arises.

  • MELD Score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease)

It utilises lab values (creatinine, bilirubin, INR) to predict mortality risk in cirrhotic patients. Assists in organ allocation for liver transplantation.

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Conclusion

Diagnosing Liver Cirrhosis involves a multifaceted approach encompassing clinical evaluation, blood tests, imaging studies, and specialised procedures. Timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial for initiating appropriate interventions and managing the disease effectively. The need to avoid the expensive healthcare costs involved and to get access to comprehensive healthcare, including diagnostic procedures, highlights the importance of health insurance. A comprehensive health cover helps in ensuring individuals receive the necessary assessments and treatments. A robust insurance plan is a key resource, facilitating timely diagnosis and enabling individuals to navigate the complexities of Liver Cirrhosis with adequate medical support.

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