How is alcoholic hepatitis diagnosed?

To diagnose alcoholic hepatitis, the doctor will ask about the patient’s drinking habits. The doctor will also examine the patient and look for signs of the disease, such as weight loss, a bloated abdomen, or yellow skin tone. The doctor may order blood tests to check for other problems in the liver and to check the liver’s function.

The doctor may also order a biopsy of the liver (a small piece of tissue is removed to be analyzed in the lab) if the patient’s condition is severe or if the diagnosis is unclear.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/21/2018.


  • American Liver Foundation. Alcohol-Related Liver Disease. Accessed 6/22/2018.
  • PubMed Health. How does the liver work? Accessed 6/22/2018.
  • Basra G, Basra S, Parupudi S. Symptoms and signs of acute alcoholic hepatitis. World J Hepatol. 2011 May 27; 3(5):118–120. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v3.i5.118
  • Lucey MR, Mathurin P, Morgan TR. Alcoholic Hepatitis. N Engl J Med 2009; 360:2758-2769 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra0805786

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