Liver Blood Tests - Diagnosis

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What blood tests are done to detect liver function?

The blood tests that truly reflect the liver function are the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Platelet count: Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) has many causes, one of which can be advanced liver disease.
  • Glucose: Glucose level is maintained in the body by a variety of mechanisms. The liver can release glucose in the blood for nourishment of other cells in case of starvation with insufficient oral intake of glucose. This process, called gluconeogenesis, is another major function of the liver. In advanced liver disease, this function of the liver can be compromised leading to unusually low glucose levels in the absence of adequate oral intake. Liver function panel test generally encompasses AST, ALT numbers plus bilirubin, and albumin. In addition, coagulation panel and complete blood count (CBC) with platelet count are usually necessary for initial evaluation of liver problems.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Pratham, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 11

My father's serum bilirubin, SGOT and SGPT values are 98, 191 and 329. He is suffering from hepatitis B. He is a diabetic patient.

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Comment from: design27, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 06

I am a 68 year old female with chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis which was finally diagnosed after 10 years of the doctors telling me I had COPD. All three doctors were wrong. They had me on inhalers at USD 400.00 a month! I told them they were wrong because my biopsy in 2006 said I may have pulmonary fibrosis. Finally I decided to get an extra PPO (preferred provider option) on my Medicare so I could go to an excellent place. They got it right and I am on medicines and my ALT and AST are cut in half in three weeks. I have lost 25 lb which also is a big help, so no diabetes for me. I am also on oxygen 10 hours a day but the liver blood test done every week is looking better and better. Extra for PPO USD 300.00 a month is the best money I've ever spent. It took too long but as I always say follow the money if you have it, you get better care!

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