Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Tests and procedures used to diagnose primary sclerosing cholangitis include:

  • Liver function blood tests. A blood test to check your liver function, including levels of your liver enzymes, can give your doctor clues about your diagnosis.
  • X-rays of your bile ducts. Injecting a dye into your bile ducts helps make them visible on an X-ray. To inject the dye, your doctor may recommend endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. During this procedure, your doctor guides a flexible tube down your throat and through your stomach to the area of your small intestine where your bile ducts empty. Using the tube and special tools, your doctor injects dye into the bile ducts.
  • MRI of your bile ducts. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to make images of your liver and bile ducts.
  • Testing a sample of liver tissue. A liver biopsy is a procedure to remove a piece of liver tissue for laboratory testing. Your doctor inserts a needle through your skin and into your liver to extract a tissue sample. Liver biopsy can help determine the extent of damage to your liver.
Apr. 09, 2011

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