Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Diagnosis of Cirrhosis

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Diagnosis of Cirrhosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Finding the disease early can lead to early treatment. This can slow or stop damage.

Blood tests will be done to look for signs of liver problems, such as:

  • Elevated liver enzymes—a sign of liver damage
  • Elevated bilirubin—causes the skin and whites of the eyes to become yellow (jaundice)
  • Low albumin—a sign that the liver is not making enough of this needed protein
  • Blood clotting problems

A liver biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis. A needle is used to take a small sample of tissue from the liver. A lab will look for signs of scarring or disease in the tissue.

Other tests may be done to look for the cause or severity of cirrhosis.


  • Cirrhosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/cirrhosis.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: https://liverfoundation.org/liver-diseases/complications-of-liver-disease/cirrhosis.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cirrhosis-of-the-liver-31.
  • Smith A, Baumgartner K, et al. Cirrhosis: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2019;100(12):759-770.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.