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Alternative Names Return to topIntrahepatic cholestasis; Extrahepatic cholestasis
Definition Return to top
Cholestasis is any condition in which the flow of bile from the liver is blocked.
Causes Return to top
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 medications can also cause cholestasis. See: Drug-induced cholestasis
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Blood tests may show higher than normal levels of bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase.
Imaging tests are used to diagnose this condition. Tests include:
Treatment Return to top
The underlying cause of cholestasis must be treated.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
How well a person does depends on the disease causing the condition. Stones in the common bile duct usually can be removed, curing the cholestasis.
Stents can be placed to open areas of the common bile duct that are narrowed or blocked by cancers.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have:
Prevention Return to top
Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if you are at risk. Avoid intravenous drug use and needle sharing.
References Return to top
Zollner G, Trauner M. Mechanisms of cholestasis. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2008 Feb;12(1).
Afdhal NH. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 159.Update Date: 9/28/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.