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Diagnostic Tests for Enlarged liver

Diagnostic Test list for Enlarged liver:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Enlarged liver includes:

  • Physical examination
    • Inspect color of skin and sclera for jaundice (yellowing)
    • Palpate the liver and determine the extent of the enlargement and also determine if liver is tender. A tender enlarged liver may suggest viral or toxic hepatitis, congestive heart failure, primary liver cancer and ascending cholangitis
    • Palpate for enlarged spleen. If both liver and spleen is enlarged may suggest alcoholic cirrhosis, amyloidosis, reticuloendotheliosis, hemolytic anemias, biliary cirrhosis, myeloid metaplasia, systemic lupus erythematosus, acute viral hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus and various parasitic diseases. If the spleen enlargement is massive this is characteristic of Gaucher's disease, kala azar and myeloid metaplasia
    • Palpate for enlarged gallbladder. If enlarged gallbladder with enlarged liver and jaundice may suggest bile duct obstruction due to cancer of the pancreas, bile ducts or ampulla of Vater
    • Palpate for any other abdominal mass which may suggest metastatic cancer
    • Inspect for generalized enlarged lymph nodes which may suggest lymphoma
    • Inspect for other signs of alcoholic liver disease including bruising, jaundice, scratch marks, reddened palms, enlarged breasts in males, loss of body hair, enlarged spleen, swollen legs and abdomen
    • Inspect for other signs of right heart failure including distended neck veins, swelling of the ankles, abdominal ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity) and pleural fluid (fluid accumulation in the lung cavity)
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count and ESR (can detect signs of leukemia and lymphoma; look for increased eosinophils with hydatid disease)
    • Liver function tests
    • Electrolytes and kidney function tests
    • Fasting blood sugar
    • Viral hepatitis serology
    • ANA autoantibodies to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Monospot test for infectious mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus test)
    • Cytomegalovirus antibodies
    • Mitochondrial antibodies - if suspect primary biliary cirrhosis.
    • HIV serology - if indicated.
    • Iron studies - to diagnose hemochromatosis.
    • Copper and caeruloplasmin test - if suspect Wilson's disease.
    • Blood smear, sickle cell preparation, serum Haptoglobin and hemoglobin electrophoresis - if suspect hemolytic anemia.
    • Alpha fetoprotein - if suspect primary liver cancer.
    • Hydatid antibodies - if suspect hydatid disease.
  • Radiological investigations
    • Chest X-Ray (looking for enlarged heart, metastases)
    • Liver ultrasound scan may detect the cause of the liver enlargement - e.g. metastases, liver cancer, fatty liver, hydatid disease.
    • CT scan of abdomen will help in the diagnosis of metastatic carcinoma and often find the source of the primary tumor and will further delineate findings found on ultrasound
    • Gallbladder ultrasound - if suspect cholecystitis or gallstones.
    • Venography - if suspect hepatic vein thrombosis.
    • Echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization may be required if suspect right heart failure
  • Tuberculin sensitivity skin testing (Mantoux test) - for tuberculosis.
  • ECG
  • Liver biopsy - may help diagnose metastatic carcinoma, primary liver cancer, hemochromatosis, reticuloendotheliosis and the various types of cirrhosis (but do not perform if suspect biliary cirrhosis as it is dangerous).
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) - may need to be done to investigate bile duct obstruction.
  • Exploratory surgery - may be the only way of obtaining a diagnosis.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Enlarged liver causes:

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Enlarged liver:

The following list of conditions have 'Enlarged liver' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Enlarged liver or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Enlarged liver:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Enlarged liver' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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