Across the Sutter Health network, dedicated hepatologists and gastroenterologists provide comprehensive evaluation and diagnoses of liver diseases of all types, including hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, fatty liver disease, acute liver failure and liver cancer.
Liver experts use the latest techniques and technologies to evaluate your condition and provide a swift and accurate diagnosis to put you on a path to treatment.
Liver function tests measure the level of various proteins and enzymes in the blood and urine, and are often the first indication of liver disease. Elevated liver enzymes can be a sign of cell damage or inflammation in the liver. A different series of blood tests, the hepatitis virus panel, is used to detect recent or chronic infection by hepatitis A, B or C viruses and determine whether the patient is infectious.
Colonoscopy and Endoscopy
Both procedures probe different ends of the digestive system using a lighted tube with a video camera on the end called an endoscope—the colon in the case of the colonoscopy and the esophagus in the case of endoscopy. If liver disease is present, both procedures can be used to uncover and treat damage resulting from poor liver function, such as bleeding due to portal vein hypertension.
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography
This procedure enables your doctor to visualize the bile and pancreatic ducts and clear suspected blockages. An endoscope is advanced into the duodenum and a tiny tube called a catheter is inserted into the pancreatic duct. A dye is injected, and your doctor takes an x-ray to view and treat any blockages.
A variety of imaging tests may be used to evaluate the liver and other organs and structures in the digestive system, including ultrasound, CT, MRI, and, if cancer is suspected, PET-CT. Some Sutter facilities are equipped with the Fibroscan transient elastography scanner, a new technology that can assess the extent of fibrosis of the liver.
A liver biopsy can help assess the extent of fibrosis in patients with cirrhosis due to viral infection, alcoholism or other diseases of the liver.