Which lab abnormalities are characteristic of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)?

Updated: Nov 08, 2017
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Abnormalities on laboratory studies include the following:

  • Significant elevations of the alkaline phosphatase (ALP), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGTP), and immunoglobulin levels (mainly IgM): Usually the most prominent findings

  • Elevation of the aminotransferases alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels

  • Increased lipid and cholesterol levels, with an increased HDL fraction

  • Increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate

  • Elevated bilirubin level, prolonged prothrombin time, and decreased albumin level: Indicate progression of disease to cirrhosis

  • Thrombocytopenia: Indicates portal hypertension

  • Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs): Can be identified in 20-50% of patients with PBC

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