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Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas

versión impresa ISSN 1130-0108


Diagnostic and therapeutic approach to cholestatic liver disease. Rev. esp. enferm. dig. [online]. 2004, vol.96, n.1, pp.60-73. ISSN 1130-0108.

When cholestatic liver disease is present, liver ultrasound should be performed to ascertain if cholestasis is extrahepatic or intrahepatiic. If bile ducts appear dilated and the probability of interventional treatment is high, endoscopic retrograde cholagio-pancreatography (ERCP) or trans-hepatic cholangiography (THC) should be the next step. If the probability of interventional therapeutics is low, cholangio-MRI should be performed. Once bile duct dilation and space occupying lesions are excluded, a work up for intrahepatic cholestasis should be started. Some especific clinical situations may be helpful in the diagnostic strategy. If cholestasis occurs in the elderly, drug-induced cholestatic disease should be suspected, whereas if it occurs in young people with risk factors, cholestatic viral hepatitis is the most likely diagnosis. During the first trimester of pregnancy cholestasis may occur in hiperemesis gravidorum, and in the third trimester of gestation cholestasis of pregnancy should be suspected. A familial history of recurrent cholestasis points to benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis. The occurrence of intrahepatic cholestasis in a mid-dle-aged woman is a frequent presentation of primary biliary cirrhosis, whereas primary sclerosing cholangitis should be suspected in young males with inflammatory bowel disease. The presence of vascular spider nevi, ascites, and a history of alcohol abuse should point to alcoholic hepatitis. Neonatal cholestasis syndromes include CMV, toxoplasma and rubinfections or metabolic defects such as cystic fibrosis, α1-antitripsin deficiency, bile acid synthesis defects, or biliary atresia. The treatment of cholestasis should include a management of complications such as pruritus, osteopenia and correction of fat soluble vitamin deficiencies. When hepatocellular failure or portal hypertension-related complications occur, liver transplantation should be considered.

Palabras clave : Cholestasis; Ultrasonography; Cholangiography; Pruritos.

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