Liver Function Tests

Liver Function Tests

Alternate Names

  • LFT
  • Gallbladder and liver

Definition

There are a number of different tests for liver function. Each has its own name, as listed in the section below.

Who is a candidate for the test?

Liver function tests are ordered to see if the person's liver is healthy and functioning properly.

How is the test performed?

Blood for the test is usually taken from a person's forearm. First, a tight band is put on the upper arm to make the veins swell below it. An area of skin on the forearm over the vein chosen is cleansed.
A needle is inserted into the vein and a sample of blood is collected in a tube.
The laboratory then measures the amount of the appropriate marker in the blood:
  • albumin, a protein synthesized by the liver
  • ALP, an enzyme found in the liver, bones and placenta
  • ALT (SGPT), an enzyme found primarily in liver cells
  • AST (SGOT), an enzyme found in the liver as well as many other body organs
  • serum bilirubin, a waste product formed by the breakdown of red blood cells
  • urine bilirubin
  • GGT, an enzyme present in the liver, pancreas and kidney
  • LDH, an enzyme found in the liver and many other body cells
  • PT or prothrombin time, which tests the blood's ability to clot
  • total cholesterol, a substance stored in the liver
  • total protein, a nutrient normally broken down by the liver and its enzymes

What is involved in preparation for the test?

Specific instructions should be requested from the healthcare professional.

What do the test results mean?

The significance of each test is described in the article specific to that test.

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