February 21, 2017
Liver Blood Tests
Table of Contents
- What are the basic functions of the liver?
- What are common liver blood function tests?
- What are the aminotransferases enzymes (ALT, AST)?
- Normally, where are AST and ALT (aminotransferase enzymes)?
- What are normal levels of AST and ALT?
- What do high (elevated) liver tests (AST and ALT) mean?
- Do AST and ALT test results indicate liver function?
- What blood tests are done to detect liver function?
- What blood tests are done to detect liver function? (Continued)
- What are some common reasons for abnormal liver tests?
- What medications can cause increased liver enzyme tests (AST and ALT) levels?
- What medications can cause increased liver enzyme tests (AST and ALT)? (continued)
- What conditions can cause very high AST or ALT levels?
- What are some of the less common causes of elevated liver blood and function tests?
- What are some of the less common causes of elevated liver blood tests? (continued)
- How are healthy people evaluated for mild to moderate rises in AST/ALT levels?
- How are healthy people evaluated for mild to moderate rises in AST/ALT levels? (continued)
- How are a person's liver blood values monitored?
- What other liver enzymes cause medical problems?
What blood tests are done to detect liver function?
The blood tests that truly reflect liver function are the following; normal values (ranges) listed are for adult men - women and children have similar but slightly different ranges of normal test values
- Coagulation panel (prothrombin time or PT, and international normalized ratio or INR): These tests measure blood's ability for normal clotting and prevention of bleeding and bruising. This is the function of certain proteins called clotting factors that normally are produced in the liver. Normal values are about 9.5 to 13.8 seconds.
- Albumin level (hypoalbuminemia): Albumin is a very common protein found in the blood with a variety of functions. It also is produced only in the liver, and if its levels are lower than normal it can be suggestive of chronic liver disease or liver cirrhosis. Of note, many conditions other than liver disease also may cause low albumin levels. Normal values are about 3.5 to 5 g/dL.
- Bilirubin: This molecule is a byproduct of the routine destruction of red blood cells occurring in the liver. It is normally released as bile in the feces. Elevation of the bilirubin can suggest liver dysfunction. However, other conditions with increased destruction of red blood cells also can cause elevated bilirubin levels despite normal liver function. Normal values are about 0.1 to 1.0 mg/dL.
5/15Reviewed on 4/20/2016