What tests are used to diagnose end-stage liver disease?
If we think your child may have end-stage liver disease, we order blood tests to assess how well their liver is working and help determine a cause.
We also use imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, FibroScan® or MRI. These tests provide a clear picture of the liver or spleen to identify changes linked to cirrhosis or ESLD.
Your child’s doctor may also request a liver biopsy to help diagnose ESLD and to see to what stage the liver disease has progressed.
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. Your child is under general anesthesia, so they feel no pain or discomfort. We remove a small piece of the liver and a board-certified pediatric pathologist examines it under a microscope.
Why choose us to test for end-stage liver disease?
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, many different specialists work together to rapidly diagnose and treat the root causes of the disease. Once we determine the specific underlying cause of the disease, we can then treat it. Treating the underlying cause stops the liver from being damaged more. In many cases, we can’t reverse the damage that has already occurred in end-stage liver disease.
How do we diagnose end-stage liver disease?
We diagnose end-stage liver disease through a thorough review of medical history, physical exam and testing. While we typically use a liver biopsy to monitor cirrhosis leading to ESLD, we also have alternative, non-invasive method to determine the amount of scar tissue present in a child’s liver. FibroScan is a specialized ultrasound machine that measures fibrosis (scarring) and steatosis (fatty change) in the liver.