Hepatobiliary disorders are frequent extraintestinal manifestations in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and may appear at any time point during the natural course of the disease. Conceptually, these manifestations can be categorised as: (1) disorders that have an association with IBD; (2) diseases directly and structurally related to intestinal inflammation; (3) diseases related to the adverse effects of IBD treatment; and (4) disorders stemming from the metabolic derangements caused by IBD. The clinical presentations of these disorders range from a mild transient elevation of liver enzymes to liver failure and death. Given this wide differential diagnosis and spectrum of severity, it is understandable that the evaluation of patients with IBD with a hepatobiliary abnormality is often challenging. In this review, we present a concise summary of the common hepatic manifestations seen in patients with IBD and focus on the relevant practical issues encountered by gastroenterologists caring for patients with IBD. A practical clinical approach to the evaluation of liver enzyme abnormalities in patients with IBD is provided based on the predominant enzyme elevation pattern (hepatocellular vs cholestatic), before presenting a working scheme for the prevention of hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation in patients with IBD receiving immunosuppressive medications. Finally, we specify several laboratory alterations seen in patients with IBD that can potentially interfere with the interpretation of liver function tests, before defining the specific circumstances when a referral for a hepatological consultation is required for further assessment.
- hepatobiliary disease
- liver function test
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