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Introduction to Testing for Hepatic and Biliary Disorders

by Nicholas T. Orfanidis, MD

Diagnosis of liver and biliary system disorders may include laboratory tests, imaging tests, and liver biopsy. Individual tests, particularly those of liver biochemistry and excretion, often have limited sensitivity and specificity. A combination of tests often best defines the cause and severity of disease. Useful algorithms (eg, Model of End-Stage Liver Disease [MELD], Child-Pugh score) have incorporated clinical and laboratory features to predict survival in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.

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