Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from functioning properly.
People with early-stage cirrhosis of the liver usually don't have symptoms. Often, cirrhosis is first detected through a routine blood test or checkup. Your doctor may order one or more tests or procedures to diagnose cirrhosis.
- Liver function: Your blood is checked for excess bilirubin and certain enzymes that may indicate liver damage.
- Kidney function: Your blood is checked for creatinine.
- Tests for hepatitis B and C: Your blood is checked for the hepatitis viruses.
- Clotting: Your international normalized ratio (INR) is checked for your blood's ability to clot.
Imaging and other tests
- Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE): This noninvasive advanced imaging testdetects hardening or stiffening of the liver.
- Other imaging tests: MRI, CT and ultrasound can image the liver.
- Biopsy: A tissue sample (biopsy) is not necessarily needed for diagnosis. However, your doctor may use it to identify the severity, extent and cause of liver damage.