Hepatic Tests are blood tests used to detect and monitor liver disease or damage by analyzing the ratio of particular enzymes and proteins made by the liver in your blood. Some of the tests assess how effectively the liver performs its primary functions, including protein production, bilirubin disposal, and storing energy, while other tests look for enzymes released by liver cells in response to damage or disease.
Abnormal liver function test results don’t always mean you have liver disease. Your doctor will explain the significance of your results and the necessary treatment if needed.
Why would I need a liver function test?
Liver tests are usually performed to see if you have any form of liver disease, including hepatitis, which causes liver swelling and serious complications. Symptoms of liver disease include:
- Appetite loss.
- Vomiting or nausea.
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue or extreme exhaustion.
- Yellowish skin or eyes (jaundice).
- Dark urine color and pale stool color
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
What are the types of liver tests?
This test checks bilirubin levels in the blood, an orange-yellow pigment produced during the breakdown of hemoglobin then passes through the liver and eventually exits the body. High bilirubin levels could mean that you have jaundice or a blockage in the bile ducts.
This test measures the amount of albumin protein in the blood and can help diagnose liver disease. Low albumin levels may imply that the liver isn’t performing adequately.
Prothrombin time (PT) test
This test determines the time it takes for blood to clot. Blood clotting requires vitamin K and a protein produced by the liver. Prolonged clotting may be caused by liver illness or a lack of particular clotting factors.
Alanine transaminase (ALT) test
Alanine aminotransferase enzyme is mainly located in the liver and is released into the bloodstream in response to acute liver cell damage. This test may be administered to examine the liver function and acute liver diseases, such as hepatitis.
Aspartate transaminase (AST) test
Aspartate transaminase enzyme is found in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart, skeletal muscle, and red blood cells and is released into the bloodstream in response to the liver or cardiac disease. AST test aims to evaluate aspartate transaminase levels to determine any sign of damaged liver cells.
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) test
This test evaluates gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase levels. This enzyme is produced by the liver, pancreas, and biliary system. GGT test is frequently administered to assess liver function, offer information on liver disorders, and detect alcohol consumption.
Lactate dehydrogenase test
Lactate dehydrogenase is a protein type (also called an isoenzyme). It is engaged in the metabolic process of the body. This test can detect tissue damage and help diagnose liver disease.
How to Prepare for liver tests?
You may be requested to fast for up to 12 hours before the test in some cases. This entails not eating or drinking anything other than water. Inform your doctor about any prescription pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements you’re using, so they can be considered while testing.
Your doctor will provide you with instructions on how to prepare for the test, and you should make sure to follow them to ensure accurate testing results.
A liver test result is usually ready within a few business days of the lab receiving your blood sample. Our staff at Novomed will email your results to you or call you to schedule a follow-up visit to go through the results with your doctor.
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