What tests are used to diagnose cirrhosis?
Children who are suspected of having cirrhosis of the liver will undergo blood tests to assess how well the liver is working and help determine a cause. They may also need imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, FibroScan or MRI. These imaging tests will allow doctors to get a clear picture of the liver and identify changes that are associated with cirrhosis. Finally, a liver biopsy will help to diagnose liver cirrhosis and determine to what stage the liver disease has progressed.
Why choose us to test for liver cirrhosis?
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we have a multidisciplinary team of specialists who are able to rapidly complete the testing and evaluation needed to understand the reason for cirrhosis. Our team of radiologists is experienced in performing a variety of imaging tests and understands how to speak to children and help ease their anxiety for such tests.
We’ve also designed our hospital to be calming and our staff have techniques to help children get through exams such as blood tests and liver biopsies. By completing these tests accurately and quickly, we can determine the specific reason for cirrhosis and begin treating the underlying liver disease.
What to expect from a liver biopsy
A board-certified pediatric hepatologist and pediatric anesthesiologist from our gastrointestinal (GI) procedure center perform the liver biopsy under general anesthesia, so the child experiences no pain or discomfort. They remove a small piece of the liver and a board-certified pediatric pathologist with extensive experience evaluating pediatric liver biopsies examines it.
How do we make a diagnosis for cirrhosis?
We diagnose liver cirrhosis by reviewing a thorough medical history, performing a physical exam and testing. Typically, we use a liver biopsy to identify liver cirrhosis, but we also have alternative, non-invasive methods to determine the amount of scar tissue present in a child’s liver.