Definition of Cholestasis

Inadequate or lack of bile flow resulting from either obstruction of the bile ducts or dysfunctions of the liveR. Common symptoms include:
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin)
  • Pruritus (generalized itching)
  • Easy bruising
  • Pale stools and dark urine
  • Xanthomas (fatty deposits in the dermis layer of the skin)

Conditions that can cause cholestasis

biliary atresiagallstones
liver disease of alcoholismmedication side effects
obstructed bile ductspancreatic cancer
pancreatitisprimary biliary cirrhosis

Diagnostic path

The diagnostic path includes blood tests to confirm the cholestasis, typically the levels of bilirubin and the enzyme alkaline phosphatase, both of which become elevated with cholestasis. Other diagnostic procedures may include ultrasound, computed tomography (ct) scan, and percutaneous liver biopsY. Treatment targets the underlying cause or condition.

Longstanding cholestasis can result in deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins, notably vitamin D and vitamin k, as the small intestine needs bile to digest fats.


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