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Liver Function tests are blood tests used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage. The test measures the levels of certain enzymes and proteins in your blood. Some of these tests measure how well the liver is performing its normal functions of producing protein and clearing bilirubin, a blood waste product.
Other liver function tests measure enzymes that liver cells release in response to damage or disease. Abnormal liver function test results don’t always indicate liver disease. The doctor explains your results and what they mean.
Why it’s done?
Liver Function tests can be used to:
1. Screen for liver infections, such as hepatitis.
2. Monitor the progression of a disease, such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis, and determine how well a treatment is working.
3. Measure the severity of the disease, particularly scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).
4. Monitor the possible side effects of medicines.
Liver function tests check the levels of certain enzymes and proteins in your blood. Levels that are higher or lower than normal can indicate liver problems. Some common liver function tests include:
1. Alanine transaminase (ALT). ALT is an enzyme found in the liver that helps your body metabolize protein. When a liver is damaged, ALT is released into the bloodstream and levels increase.
2. Aspartate transaminase (AST). AST is an enzyme that helps metabolize alanine, an amino acid. Like ALT, AST is normally present in the blood at lower levels. An increase in AST levels may indicate liver damage or disease or muscle damage.
3. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ALP is an enzyme in the liver, bile ducts, and bone. Higher-than-normal levels of ALP may indicate liver damage or diseases, such as blocked bile duct, or certain bone diseases.
4. Albumin and total protein. Albumin is one of several proteins made in the liver. Your body needs these proteins to fight infections and to perform other functions. Lower-than-normal levels of albumin and total protein might indicate liver damage or disease.
5. Bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin passes through the liver and is excreted in the stool. Elevated levels of bilirubin (jaundice) might indicate liver damage or disease or certain types of anemia.
6. Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT). GGT is an enzyme in the blood. Higher-than-normal levels may indicate liver or bile duct damage.
7. L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD). LD is an enzyme found in the liver. Elevated levels may indicate liver damage, but can be elevated in many other diseases.
8. Prothrombin Time (PT). PT is the time it takes your blood to clot. Increase PT may indicate liver damage, but can also be elevated if you are taking certain blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin.
Normal blood test results for a typical liver function test include:
ALT. 7 to 55 units per liter (U/L)
AST. 8 to 48 U/L
ALP. 45 to 115 U/L
Albumin. 3.5 to 5.0 grams per deciliter (g/dL)
Total Protein. 6.3 to 7.9 g/dL
Bilirubin. 0.1 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
GGT. 9 to 48 U/L
LD. 122 to 222 U/L
PT. 9.5 to 13.8 seconds
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