PBC Foundation
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Can your GP do the AMA test or do I have to wait for my hospital appointment ?

I have recently had some liver function tests back from the doctors and have been referred to the hospital to look into whether I have PBC. Having done a bit of research this week I realise that I have a lot of the symptoms - itching, acid, bone ache, tiredness. It's almost a relief to have a sort of answer. I have to wait till January for my appointment and wondered if I had to wait till then for this test or whether the process could be speeded up.

7 Replies

Hello Katiecat.

Well I felt tired and just had the itch early 2010, the latter which is what I ended up seeing the GP about.

He did the LFT test and FBC, ferritin, etc and said the LFTs were abnormal so he'd continue with more bloods.

Then a few mths later he sent me for a scan which came back apparently almost normal. (The bloods were testing for some inflammation.)

The GP then said he'd do a final blood test which I only found out several mths later at the hospital that it was for copper (Wilsons Disease).

I went to the hospital (had to wait 13wks to go) thinking the final one the GP did which I failed to find out what it was (tho' I suspected myself I may have PBC) would have been the AMA one.

I was a bit disappointed to then find out Oct 2010 when I finally had my first hosp appt that I hadn't had the AMA, I was to have it that day. That then meant another 2mths wait for the results when I was diagnosed with PBC Dec 2010 and given urso.

I did read after that if it is suspected one has PBC then one should be started on urso but it never happened like that for me. Also had I have known more then I think I might have gone back to the GP and asked him about the AMA test. I'm not certain if a GP can conduct this specific test (tho' I don't see why not). Might be a good idea for you to return to your GP and ask him here. Saying all this suppose depends on the LFTs I suppose.

My way of thinking since has been that perhaps the LFTs weren't so off the charts that it warranted a much sooner appt at the hospital. I know the doctor at the hospital the day I went didn't seem overly-concerned, nor did he offer me urso at the time.

I know now looking back I would prob have gone into see the GP and ask him about the AMA as would have saved much time with my result being PBC. But it has also to be noted that PBC is slow progressing and urso is a bit controversial as in it's not known exactly how it works. I can well understand your urgency. As time went along in 2010 I starting changing a few things for myself and I know from blood results at the time I went to the hospital before the PBC diagnosis my LFTs had actually improved by themselves without any meds.

I suffer from the itch at night-time and it has improved somewhat since taking urso but it did take over a yr to get there.

Good Luck, keep us all posted.


hi I know the waiting is frustrating but the waiting list for an urgent appointment is now up to 12 weeks; it has been very noticable how the lists have grown in the last couple of years!

Rest assured that PBC is a slowly progressing disease.

There will be a batch of blood tests to be done, your GP can definitely do your Autoimmune blood test but I THINK? the rest have to be ordered by the consultant.

Good Luck


I had the AMA done by the GP, I have also had many other antibody tests ordered by the GP. x

1 like

I am in Ireland. My gp did the test after the second set of abnormal liver function tests. He ran it as part of routine blood tests which included tests for inflammation, infection, full blood count, and some antibodies. When I went to the consultant (eventually) it meant that he had all the information he needed to make a diagnosis and there was no more waiting time.

I know what you mean about it being a relief to be able to put a name to the symptoms. It doens't make you feel any healthier but it takes a lot of imagination out of the scenario. I had imagined all sorts. PBC was a relief!

You should ask your gp if he or she can do the test - it might make the appointment at the hospital more productive if you have that information on your record.


I was diagnosed by my GP 2 weeks ago, she did AMA test which came back positive.


The level of knowledge amongst GPs is very variable. I printed off the leaflet for GPs from the PBC Foundation website and gave it to my GP and asked for the AMA test. The results took 3-4 weeks to come back as it has to be sent to a special lab. Therefore when my hospital appointment happened the Dr was happy to prescribe Urso on the day. I think it's worth asking for it. The only possible downside is that if it comes back +ve then you might have to live with knowing about having pbc for a while before having an opportunity to ask questions from a specialist but there's the pbc foundation for support and info. All the best .


Thank you so much for all your replies, I have booked another appointment with my GP to ask her if she will do it.

Another couple of questions, I was on an anti depressant - Lustral and GP asked me to go off it asap as she said it could be causing my symptoms. Has anybody had this experience. Also, I had obstetric Cholostasis when I was pregnant which had very similar symptoms to PBC- when you read any information about it it alwys seems to say that there are no known long term effects after pregnancy but I'm wondering if they are linked.

So good to be able to ask all these questions. Thank you all so much xx


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