Cholestasis

Definition

Cholestasis is any condition in which the flow of bile from the liver is slowed or blocked.

Causes

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

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:

Treatment

The underlying cause of cholestasis must be treated.

Outlook (Prognosis)

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.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have:

Prevention

Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if you are at risk. Do not use intravenous drugs and share needles.


Review Date: 4/18/2018
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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