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.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.