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Gallstones diagnosis usually done by means of imaging tests. Some of the lab tests are also done to rule out presence of any associated complications.
Lab test results are usually normal, unless there is development of any complication such as infection or obstruction.
• LFT: your LFT levels are typically found increased if you have an obstruction in the bile duct. In such scenario the GGT and alkaline phosphatase are found elevated in 94% and 91% cases, respectively.
• Urine Pregnancy Test: if you are a female of reproductive age group, your doctor may ask you get this test done to rule out the possibility of pregnancy.
• USG abdomen: is usually the first imaging test that would be ordered by your doctor. This is considered as the gold standard test to diagnose the gall bladder stones with detection rate of more than 95%. However, this test is less sensitive in detecting stones in the bile duct (50%) for which you may need to undergo other imaging tests.
• CT scan: is not done specifically for gall stones. This test is less sensitive than ultrasound for detecting stones in the gall bladder. However, it can be helpful in detecting associated complications such as cholecystitis, obstruction of the bile ducts and pancreatitis.
• Endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS): is a special type of ultrasound test. Here, the doctor would insert a special type of tube fitted with a camera and ultrasound probe into the your gut via mouth. The test is excellent in detecting small stones which are difficult to diagnose by other tests with detection rate of 94% to 98%. It can also detect presence of small sized cancer growths and can take tissue sample of it.
• Cholescintigraphy (Tc-99m): this test is typically done to check for presence of cholecystitis (infection) when no stone is found in the gall bladder, even in presence of symptoms. This test is useful in detecting cholecystitis and assessing the chances of post surgery complications in cholecystitis.
• ERCP: invasive procedure where a tube fitted with a camera and tools, is inserted through the mouth into the intestine-where the bile duct opens. With this test your doctor is able to find and remove the bile duct stones within the same sitting.
Indication: This test is mainly used for treating the bile duct stone and not just detecting the stone.
• Done if other imaging studies have confirmed the presence of bile duct stone.
• Or, if other tests suggests a very high possibility of the bile duct stone.
Risk factors: Higher risk of complications than other tests such as pancreatitis which can develop in about 20% people.
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