1. Lab studies
Lab studies are essential for diagnosing cholestasis, as they provide physicians with insight into the biochemical mechanisms underlying the condition. Commonly used lab studies include serum bilirubin, serum lipoprotein X, serum alkaline phosphatase levels, serum 5′-nucleotidase levels, and serum gamma-glutamyl transferase.
Serum bilirubin measures the amount of bile that has been excreted and is usually elevated in cases of cholestasis as bile is retained in the liver. Serum lipoprotein X is a measure of cholesterol that has been excreted into the bile, and is usually decreased in cases of cholestasis. Serum alkaline phosphatase levels are typically elevated in cholestasis cases due to increased liver enzyme activity. Serum 5′-nucleotidase and serum gamma-glutamyl transferase are usually elevated in cases of cholestasis, as the enzymes are released from the biliary tree in response to bile retention.
By measuring these markers, physicians can gain insight into the underlying biochemical mechanism of cholestasis and make an informed diagnosis.