Jaundice and liver disease

Jaundice occurs when there is a build-up of a yellow pigment called bilirubin in the blood.  Patients may notice:

  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin
  • Darkening of the urine
  • Pale coloured stool

Causes can include liver problems due to alcohol, drugs, infections or other causes, gallstones, and tumours of the bile ducts or pancreas. Jaundice is a serious symptom that requires urgent investigation and medical attention should be sought immediately. 

Abnormal liver function tests

Abnormal liver function tests (LFT’s) are often picked up incidentally when routine blood tests are performed for another reason, and patients rarely report symptoms.

There are numerous causes, most of which are benign, but a full assessment should be made as there are more serious causes.  Usually this requires a panel of blood tests and an ultrasound scan, although occasionally a tissue sample of the liver might be required for a diagnosis.

More information: www.corecharity.org.uk/Information