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Diagnosis Gastroenterology

Toxic Hepatitis

In making a diagnosis of toxic hepatitis, your doctor will ask about your medical history, including detailed information regarding your medications, use of herbs or other over-the-counter nutritional supplements and alcohol consumption. Your doctor also will carry out a thorough physical exam, which can be helpful in determining the presence or absence of significant chronic liver disease.

The following tests may be performed to assess the presence and severity of liver damage:

  • Liver Function Tests These include a series of special blood tests than can help determine if the liver is functioning properly. These tests also can assist in determining the extent and type of liver damage.
  • Ultrasound An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within your body. An ultrasound may be performed to generate detailed pictures of your liver.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Your doctor also may suggest a computed tomography scan, also known as a CT scan, to obtain two-dimensional images of your liver. CT is an X-Ray technique that produces more detailed images of your internal organs than conventional X-Ray exams. This technology uses an X-Ray sensing unit, which rotates around your body, and a large computer to create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body.
  • Liver Biopsy A biopsy may be performed following blood tests and X-Rays if questions still exist about the nature and severity of your liver problem. During a biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed from your liver using a thin needle. The tissue is prepared and stained in a laboratory for examination under a microscope.

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.