Primary Biliary Cirrhosis - Diagnosis

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How is PBC diagnosed?

The diagnosis of PBC is established by the results of several types of tests. These include blood tests, serum autoantibody testing, ultrasound imaging of the liver, and liver biopsy.

Return to Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: Jay, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 19

I had primary biliary cirrhosis undiagnosed for something like 20 years. My primary doctor, an internal medicine guy, consistently just asked me how much I drank, and assumed I was in denial when I told him I NEVER drink. About four years ago, I took it upon myself to find out why my liver enzymes were so wacky (GGT 300X normal) indicating liver disease or alcoholism. I went to cancer centers. Diagnosis: myelodysplastic syndrome (which was wrong). Finally at my insistence, I went to a heptologist who did a liver biopsy and found that I have primary biliary cirrhosis, exceedingly rare for a guy. My symptoms include lower leg rash and itching (I use two tubes of Cortizone 10 cream a month) and afternoon exhaustion. I keep things under control with Ursodiol, 10mg of Nadolol, and a timed release antacid every day. So far I am coping very well. I am 69 years old now, and hope to die of old age, not liver failure.

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Comment from: MomofFour, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 25

I began consistently having elevated Alk Phos after routine physical flagged me at 29. Was tested for antibodies at the time and nothing was found, followed up annually with the GI. Alk Phos remained elevated. Went to Iraq 2008-2009. When I came home in June of 2009 I went back to the doctor for a screening. My cholesterol was 364, and alk phos was still elevated. I started itching shortly before returning home, the doctor treated me for allergies repeatedly with no relief, even gave me medicine for depression, nothing, finally went to the GI for follow up, when he saw me itching, he asked if I had a rash or anything associated with normal itching, I said no, he asked if it was everywhere, and I said yes, he repeated the test for anti-bodies and low and behold I came up positive this time. Had the liver biopsy but it only revealed a fatty liver. I was 36 at the time. My primary care physician has had me on simvastatin for 3 years now, my cholesterol dropped as soon as I was put on it, itching also subsided, however when my cholesterol hit 120 she quadrupled my simvastatin to 80mg and I have been on that about a year.

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