Liver Blood Tests (cont.)

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How about monitoring liver blood tests?

What is usually most helpful is serial testing of AST (SGOT) and ALT (SGPT) over time to determine whether the levels are increasing, remaining stable, or decreasing. For example, individuals undergoing treatment for chronic hepatitis C should be monitored with serial liver enzyme tests. Those responding to treatment will experience lowering of liver enzyme levels to normal or near normal levels. Those who develop relapse of hepatitis C after completion of treatment will usually develop abnormal liver enzyme levels again.

What about the other liver enzymes?

Aside from AST and ALT, there are other enzymes including alkaline phosphatase, 5'-nucleotidase ("5 prime" nucleotidase), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) that are often used to detect for liver disease.

LDH is not specific to the liver and can be elevated in many diseases with inflammation in other tissues.

Alkaline phosphatase is another liver enzyme that is frequently measured. This enzyme is usually found in the walls of the bile ducts (tube-like structures within the liver that connect liver cells together). Elevation of alkaline phosphatase may indicate an injury to the biliary cells. Common causes of biliary injury or biliary obstruction (cholestasis) are gallstones and certain medications, although, some of the conditions listed previously can also raise the levels of this enzyme. Alkaline phosphate is also found in the bone and can be elevated in bone diseases. GGT and 5' nucleotidase levels can be elevated in biliary conditions (disease of the gallbladder and bile ducts) along with alkaline phosphatase.

REFERENCES:

MedscapeReference.com. Fatty Liver.

Medscape.com. Acute Liver Failure Workup.

MedscapeReference.com. Amebic Hepatic Abscesses Workup.

Previous medical author: Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/2/2014

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