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Liver Blood Tests

By

Christina C. Lindenmeyer

, MD, Cleveland Clinic

Last full review/revision Sep 2021| Content last modified Sep 2021
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Topic Resources

Liver tests are blood tests that represent a noninvasive way to screen for the presence of liver disease (for example, hepatitis Overview of Hepatitis Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. (See also Overview of Acute Viral Hepatitis and Overview of Chronic Hepatitis.) Hepatitis is common throughout the world. Hepatitis can be Acute (short-lived) read more in donated blood) and to measure the severity and progress of liver disease as well as the response to treatment.

Laboratory tests are generally effective for the following:

Liver tests are done on blood samples and measure the levels of enzymes and other substances produced by the liver. These substances include

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)

  • Albumin

  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)

  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

  • Bilirubin

  • Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT)

  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)

  • 5’-Nucleotidase

Levels of some of these substances measure the presence and degree of liver inflammation (for example, ALT, AST). Levels of other substances measure how well the liver performs its normal functions of making proteins and secreting bile (for example, albumin, bilirubin). What constitutes a normal value for many of these tests can be found in the table Blood Tests Blood Tests* A large number of tests are widely available. Many tests are specialized for a particular disorder or group of related disorders (which are usually described with the appropriate disorders in... read more . However, some of these values can be higher than normal in people with disorders not related to the liver.

Liver Tests

One test of liver function is the prothrombin time (PT), which is used to calculate the international normalized ratio (INR). Both the PT and the INR are measures of the time needed for blood to clot (the liver synthesizes some proteins necessary for blood clotting, called blood clotting factors). An abnormal PT or INR result can indicate an acute or chronic liver disorder. In both acute and chronic liver disorders, an increasing PT or INR typically indicates progression to liver failure Liver Failure Liver failure is severe deterioration in liver function. Liver failure is caused by a disorder or substance that damages the liver. Most people have jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), feel tired... read more .

More Information

The following are some English-language resources that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

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Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is inflammation with progressive scarring and narrowing of the bile ducts, both inside and outside the liver. People with which of the following gastrointestinal issues are prone to developing this condition?
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