Liver Function Test Interpretation
Let’s get to know all this important information about Liver Function Test Interpretation in the following article.
Liver function is examined by taking a blood sample for laboratory testing, as the level of certain compounds in the blood is examined. The level of these compounds indicates inflammation or damage to the liver.
Liver cells and bile ducts within the liver contain certain functional proteins (enzymes). When liver cells are damaged, these proteins are released from the cells and absorbed into the blood, thus raising the level of these proteins in the blood.
Of these many enzymes, some of the main enzymes are examined:
- Alanine aminotransferase (also called – SGPT)
- Aspartate aminotransferase (also called – SGOT)
- Alp – Alkaline phosphatase (also called ALK phos) and others.
In addition to examining the level of enzymes, it’s important to examine the level of hepatic metabolic products: total protein level – albumin, globulin and blood coagulation factors (the level of which is estimated by specific clotting tests).Typically, if the levels of these proteins are normal, it indicates that liver tissue functions properly.
If the protein level is low or the clotting time is slight, this might indicate a risk with the liver’s functioning, so further tests should be done.
People who at risk
Who should be examined?
People known to possess infectious diseases, transmitted through the blood, like hepatitis B/C,HIV etc, should inform the medical staff before the examination. Infectious diseases don’t prevent liver function testing, but medical staff should take precautions to stop transmission.
Viral hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, autoimmune diseases (primary- biliary cirrhosis), cirrhosis, cirrhosis, cirrhosis, cirrhosis, cirrhosis, liver wax following various causes (alcohol, fattening liver, etc.), liver injury due to inflammatory bowel diseases (bile duct scarring), liver cancer (liver tumor, glandular tumor), acute inflammation of the liver caused by medications/toxins, etc.
When should I have the test?
As part of a routine blood test, liver function examination is usually performed as part of a routine blood test to detect hidden conditions, such as infections, infections, liver injury caused by medications, toxins, etc., which have not yet caused symptoms in the person undergoing the examination.
Liver function is examined so as to reach a selected diagnosis, too, when a liver problem is suspected – as an example, when signs of liver damage appear in physical examination (e.g., jaundice or unexplained fever), and also when signs of liver injury appear in imaging tests.
Another reason for a liver function test is to monitor liver function after the patient receives certain types of medications, which are known to cause liver damage when taken for a long time.
The method of conducting the examination
A liver function test is performed when the person’s arm is inversely stretched above a flat or above the table. The examination port/doctor installs a rubber band at the top of the arm, in order to temporarily stop blood flow in the arm, in order to prevent blood leaking from the area where the person undergoing the examination is pricked.
Afterwards, the examiner is asked to hold the palm of his hand in the form of a fist. This procedure helps the examiner/doctor find a good blood vessel to take a blood sample from him, which is usually a vein in the elbow or forearm area.
Sometimes, a blood sample is taken from the back of the hand. When a vein appears to fit in size, the area is disinfected with alcohol-wet cotton and the vein is pricked using a thin needle, attached to a test tube, syringe or butterfly (preterm needle). The operation may be a little uncomfortable and causes minor pain due to needle pricking.
Later, the examiner withdraws the required amount of blood, depending on the number of test tubes.
When the blood draw is finished, the needle is quickly removed from the vein.
The needle prick area should be pressed directly by medical cotton (in order to stop bruising). Test tubes are sent to the laboratory for examination.
A liver function test usually takes about 5-10 minutes.
How should I prepare for the test?
Usually, there is no need to make special preparations when undergoing a liver function test. If a general blood test is performed, for other compounds in the blood at the same time, such as the level of sugar or cholesterol, you should fast for 12 hours before the test time, as instructed by your doctor.
After the test
Pressure on the examination area can be stopped after 2-3 minutes or when blood flow stops. a small bruising usually appears within the needle prick area, disappears and disappears within some days and doesn’t require treatment.
Sometimes a large bruising may cause pain and swelling in the tingling area, at which point you should inform your doctor, in order to rule out the presence of an infection (Phlebitis) requiring treatment.
Analysis of results
Liver function test results usually appear within one-two days, in the form of a list. In each line, the form contains the value examined by the patient, and is compared to the values within the normal range. Values that go beyond the normal range are usually marked. Sometimes a re-examination is required in order to verify the results and avoid laboratory errors.
Natural levels of enzymes (adjusted for each laboratory separately):
ALT – 4-36 units/liters.
When the LEVEL OF AST/ALT is significantly high (hundreds to even thousands), this may be an indication of acute liver disease, such as acute inflammation (viral hepatitis), acute inflammation due to medications, toxins and others. When the LEVEL OF AST/ALT is slightly high (tens to hundreds), it may be indicative of temporary viral inflammation, liver damage following excessive drinking, accumulation of fatty deposits in the liver (fatty liver), cirrhosis and chronic liver damage due to cancerous diseases.
Alk phos. – ALP 30-126 units/l in adults, 30-300 units/l in children.
If the ALP level is too high, it may be an indication of acute liver disease (inflammation – viral hepatitis) caused by medications, toxins and others.
Since ALP is released from the cells of the gallbladder system within the liver, an increase in its blood level, without an increase in the level of other enzymes, may indicate a specific injury to the gallbladder pathways within the liver, such as blockage of bile ducts, gallstones, etc. ALP is a non-liver tissue enzyme that may increase in blood in many other diseases, such as bone diseases and various cancers.
Natural protein levels:
- Total protein: 5.5 -9 g/dL
- Albums: 3.5 – 5.5 g/dl
- Globulin: 2-3.5 g/dl
High levels of protein, when examining liver function, may indicate severe dehydration and various blood diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Autoimmune diseases, such as Sarcoidosis, autoimmune hepatitis and lupus, may lead to elevated levels of protein in the blood.
Low protein levels, when examining liver function, may indicate disturbances in protein absorption in the intestines (caused by malnutrition or infections), disturbances in protein production in the liver (caused by infection, liver infections or, even, liver failure) or an increase in protein secretion in urine due to kidney problems.