Which physical findings are characteristic of cholestasis?

Updated: Aug 09, 2017
  • Author: Hisham Nazer, MBBCh, FRCP, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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As noted above, the physical signs of cholestasis are usually scleral icterus or cutaneous jaundice, or both. These patients may have physical evidence of scratching or excoriation if they also have severe bile acid retention.

Xanthomas look like small white papules or plaques and are usually found on the trunk and diaper area and in areas of friction (eg, diaper line, creases of hands, elbows, neck).

Another important physical finding in patients with cholestasis may be evidence of failure to thrive with altered anthropometrics, such as reduced height and reduced weight for height due to fat malabsorption.

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