Can Blood Tests Detect Cirrhosis Of The Liver?

Cirrhosis is the chronic progressive disease of the liver that creates scars or fibrosed tissues replacing the healthy liver tissue. This scarring induces damage to the liver that prohibits it to perform vital functions like digestion and removal of toxins from the body. Cirrhosis does not represent symptoms in early stages; it is detected accidentally by blood test in a routine checkup. The symptoms that develop in later stages can be jaundice, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and others. It can be easily detected by blood tests, MRI, CT scan and ultrasonography. Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease can revert back to some of the scarred tissues of the liver.

Can Blood Tests Detect Cirrhosis Of The Liver?

Can Blood Tests Detect Cirrhosis Of The Liver?

Cirrhosis is a slow developing disease that leads to the formation of the scars or fibrosed tissues due to longstanding injury to the liver. Its symptoms that appear in later stages can be following:

Your physician will do the physical examination to observe enlarged liver and yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes. These symptoms can guide your physician to diagnose cirrhosis of the liver.

In the absence of symptoms, cirrhosis is detected accidentally by blood test in the routine checkup. If your physician suspects your symptoms related to cirrhosis or you are at the risk of cirrhosis, then one will advise you some tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Physician’s first choice will be blood tests with samples of your blood. Blood tests indeed detect cirrhosis of the liver. Blood tests are helpful to find the extent of damage impacted on the liver and the cause of the disease. Basically, blood tests assist to check whether the liver is functioning normally or not.

The blood test involves Liver function test with your blood samples to analyze particular enzymes and proteins that reveal any damage happened to your liver. These tests involve-

Alanine Transaminase (ALT) and Aspartate Transaminase (AST) Levels-

The main role of these enzymes is to break down the protein and amino acids produced in the body. In healthy condition, the levels of both the enzymes remain low in your blood. The liver is affected by the damage caused by cirrhosis or any other disease, and then the levels of ALT and AST get increased. High levels of ALT and AST are the indication of the damage happened in the liver.

Bilirubin Level-

In a healthy state, the liver function to remove bilirubin formed of the broken blood cells and gets it excreted through stool. When cirrhosis develops in the liver, excretion of bilirubin gets affected and bilirubin accumulates in the blood causing Jaundice. Blood bilirubin test confirms the high levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Albumin Test-

Albumin is produced in the liver. Cirrhosis hampers the formation of albumin that leads to decrease in the levels of albumin in the blood.

Creatinine Test-

Creatinine is formed as a waste product from your muscles that is filtered by the kidney from the blood. Cirrhosis can result in damage to the kidney in the late stages with the rise in levels of creatinine.

Prothrombin Time-

The liver produces heparin that helps in the clotting of the blood. Prothrombin time is the test done to check the time taken by blood to clot. Cirrhosis may delay the clotting time due to insufficient formation of heparin.


Cirrhosis is a slow progressive disease of the liver that causes the formation of scars or fibrosed tissue in the liver tissue replacing normal liver tissues. A liver function test is done from your blood samples to detect the damage impacted on the liver by cirrhosis. Other tests recommended for cirrhosis are radiography, USG, CT scan and MRI of the abdomen.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 7, 2018

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