LIVER FUNCTION TEST
Liver function tests are blood tests used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage. The tests measure 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.
Conditions other than liver disease or damage can lead to abnormal liver function test results. Test results can be normal in people who have liver disease or damage
Liver function tests can be used to:
- Screen for liver infections, such as hepatitis
- Monitor the progression of a disease, such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis, and determine how well a treatment is working
- Measure the severity of a disease, particularly scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
- Monitor possible side effects of medications
- 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:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT).
- Aspartate transaminase (AST).
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
- Albumin and total protein.
- Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT).
- L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD).
- Prothrombin time (PT).
Certain foods and medications may affect the results of your liver function tests. Your doctor will probably ask you to avoid eating food and taking some medications before your blood is drawn. The length of your fast and the medications you avoid depend on which liver function tests are being done.
The blood sample for liver function tests is usually taken from a vein in your arm. The needle is attached to a small tube, to collect your blood. You may feel a quick pain as the needle is inserted into your arm and experience some short-term discomfort at the site after the needle is removed.