A hepatologist is a medical doctor that deals with conditions and diseases of the liver. Typically, your primary care physician will be the first to recognize liver problems through blood tests or other diagnosis. If your physician suspects a liver condition, they will likely refer you to a hepatologist.
Your first visit with the liver specialist will include a review of your past and current medical history. It will be important to bring a list of prescription medications you are currently taking as well as the dosage. You should also bring any relevant medical records you have in your possession so the specialist will have the information in your medical file.
Most patients will be required to have blood work done on the first visit. A general physical may also be completed. In many cases where liver conditions are suspected, the patient will need an evaluation of their digestive system which may include an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy.
These tests may be done on subsequent visits. Some doctors will perform these tests directly in their office or you may be referred to a local hospital to have the tests completed. Depending on the results of your initial blood tests, your specialist will bring you back for an additional appointment to discuss the situation and the next course of treatment.
For your first visit to the hepatologist, it is recommended you dress comfortably and have a good breakfast or lunch prior to having blood work completed. Bring any notes or written questions you have about your suspected condition so you will not forget to ask the specialist during your appointment.