Imaging tests are used to diagnose this condition. Tests include:
CT scan of the abdomen
MRI of the abdomen
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (can also determine cause)
Ultrasound of the abdomen
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.
Organ failure can occur if sepsis develops
Poor absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins
Weak bones (osteomalacia) due to having cholestasis for a very long time
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have:
Itching that does not go away
Yellow skin or eyes
Other symptoms of cholestasis
Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if you are at risk. Do not use intravenous drugs and share needles.
Beuers U, Boberg KM, Chapman RW et al. EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of cholestatic liver diseases. J Hepatol. 2009 Aug;51(2):237-67.
Zollner G, Trauner M. Mechanisms of cholestasis. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2008;12:1-26.
Afdhal NH. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 158.
Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.