How is jaundice diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose jaundice by checking for signs of liver disease such as:

  • Bruising of the skin
  • Spider angiomas (abnormal collection of blood vessels near the surface of the skin)
  • Palmar erythema (red coloration of the palms and fingertips)

Urinalysis (urine testing) that is positive for bilirubin shows that the patient has conjugated jaundice. The findings of urinalysis should be confirmed by serum testing. The serum testing will include a complete blood count (CBC) and bilirubin levels.

Your doctor will also do an exam to determine the size and tenderness of your liver. He or she may use imaging (ultrasonography and computer tomographic (CT) scanning) and liver biopsy (taking a sample of the liver) to further confirm diagnosis.

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