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Diagnostic approach to the adult with jaundice or asymptomatic hyperbilirubinemia

Namita Roy-Chowdhury, PhD
Jayanta Roy-Chowdhury, MD, MRCP
Section Editor
Sanjiv Chopra, MD, MACP
Deputy Editor
Anne C Travis, MD, MSc, FACG, AGAF


Jaundice and asymptomatic hyperbilirubinemia are common clinical problems that can be caused by a variety of disorders, including bilirubin overproduction, impaired bilirubin conjugation, biliary obstruction, and hepatic inflammation. (See "Classification and causes of jaundice or asymptomatic hyperbilirubinemia".)

This topic will provide an overview of the diagnostic approach to adults with jaundice or asymptomatic hyperbilirubinemia. The causes of jaundice and asymptomatic hyperbilirubinemia, detailed discussions of the specific testing used, and the evaluation of patients with other liver test abnormalities are discussed elsewhere. (See "Classification and causes of jaundice or asymptomatic hyperbilirubinemia" and "Approach to the patient with abnormal liver biochemical and function tests".)


Liver test reference ranges will vary from laboratory to laboratory. As an example, one hospital's normal reference ranges for adults are as follows [1]:

Albumin: 3.3 to 5.0 g/dL (33 to 50 g/L)

Alkaline phosphatase:


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Literature review current through: Oct 2015. | This topic last updated: Jan 29, 2014.
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