Liver Blood Tests
Liver Blood Test Overview
In general, liver blood tests are used to detect an injury or an inflammation to the liver. These tests are commonly ordered and performed in many situations, such as in routine health screening, evaluation of abdominal pain, or suspected liver disease. The liver blood tests are typically done as a part of the comprehensive metabolic panel which also includes electrolyte levels and kidney function.
The main values measured in liver blood tests are the aminotransferases (alanine aminotransferase or ALT and aspartate aminotransferase or AST). The other measurements include alkaline phosphatase, albumin, and bilirubin. It is important to note that these tests are commonly referred to as "liver function tests", but this term is misleading as the aminotransferases and alkaline phosphatase do not reflect the function of the liver. Strictly speaking, the true liver function tests (LFT's) include albumin, bilirubin, blood coagulation panel, and glucose.
More specifically, AST, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase are called the liver enzymes and they typically are used to detect damage or injury to the liver (not its function) and they will be covered in this article.
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