Which lab tests may be useful in the diagnosis of cholecystitis?

Updated: May 20, 2021
  • Author: Alan A Bloom, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Although the laboratory criteria are not reliable in identifying all patients with cholecystitis, the following findings may be useful in arriving at the diagnosis:

  • Leukocytosis with a left shift may be observed in cholecystitis.

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels are used to evaluate for the presence of hepatitis and may be elevated in cholecystitis or with common bile duct obstruction.

  • Bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase assays are used to evaluate for the presence of common bile duct obstruction.

  • Amylase/lipase assays are used to evaluate for the presence of pancreatitis. Amylase may also be elevated mildly in cholecystitis.

  • An elevated alkaline phosphatase level is observed in 25% of patients with cholecystitis.

  • Urinalysis is used to rule out pyelonephritis and renal calculi.

  • All females of childbearing age should undergo pregnancy testing.

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