Cirrhosis may be diagnosed based on your symptoms, medical history, physical examination and results of laboratory tests. Tests to confirm a diagnosis of cirrhosis include a complete blood count (CBC), liver enzyme, liver function and electrolyte testing as well as screening for other health conditions such as hepatitis B and C viruses, liver cancer or gallstones.
In most cases, a liver biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis. During a biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to take a small sample of tissue from your liver so that it can be examined for scarring or other signs of disease.
Imaging tests may also be recommended to obtain a closer look at your liver. These include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound or a scan of the liver using a radioisotope — a harmless radioactive substance that highlights the liver. The doctor also might examine your liver using a laparoscope, an instrument that is inserted through the abdomen that relays images onto a computer screen.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.