Cholestasis is any condition in which the flow of bile from the liver is slowed or blocked.
Intrahepatic cholestasis; Extrahepatic cholestasis
There are many causes of cholestasis.
Extrahepatic cholestasis occurs outside the liver. It can be caused by:
Intrahepatic cholestasis occurs inside the liver. It can be caused by:
Certain medicines can also cause cholestasis, including:
Symptoms may include:
Exams and Tests
Blood tests may show that you have elevated bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase.
Imaging tests are used to diagnose this condition. Tests include:
The underlying cause of cholestasis must be treated.
How well a person does depends on the disease causing the condition. Stones in the common bile duct can often be removed. This can cure the cholestasis.
Stents can be placed to open areas of the common bile duct that are narrowed or blocked by cancers.
If the condition is caused by the use of a certain medicine, it will often go away when you stop taking that drug.
Complications may include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have:
Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if you are at risk. Do not use intravenous drugs and share needles.
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Beuers U, Boberg KM, Chapman RW, et al. EASL clinical practice guidelines: management of cholestatic liver diseases. J Hepatol. 2009;51(2):237-267. PMID: 19501929 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501929.
Eaton JE, Lindo KD. Primary biliary chirrhosis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 91.
Fogel EL, Sherman S. Diseases of the gallbladder and liver. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 155.
Review Date: 5/11/2016
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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