Liver Function Test (LFT): Purpose, Procedure, Cost and Risk | HOD
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Liver Function Test: Purpose, Procedure, Cost and Risk


LFT Overview

The liver is one of the most important organ that plays a vital role in regulating the metabolic activities of the body and detoxifying the body by filtering out toxic and harmful chemicals. Liver Function Test (LFT) is a blood test that provide useful information about the wellness of the liver. It measures the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in your blood. LFT test comprises of certain parameters like Albumin Test, Bilirubin Test, SGOT, SGPT, and more.

A liver function test can be performed for many reasons. Some physicians perform LFT as a part of a routine check-up, while some physicians may recommend a liver function test to screen patients who are at the risk of developing liver diseases. LFT is also used to monitor an individual’s liver disease and to see the effectiveness of treatment.


A liver function test is usually recommended in the following conditions:

  • To check any damage from liver infections such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
  • To monitor any side effects from medications that harm the liver.
  • If a person is suffering from medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia, etc.
  • If an individual is experiencing symptoms of liver disorder.
  • If an individual consumes alcohol in excessive quantity
  • To understand the severity of a disease (if a person already has a liver disease).
  • If an individual has gall bladder disease.


Commonly Used Liver Function Tests

LFT is used to determine the level of enzymes and proteins in the blood. Higher or lower levels with respect to normal may be an indication of liver disease. Some common LFT’s are:


Enzyme Liver Tests:

  • Alanine transaminase (ALT) – ALT is a liver enzyme that is used to convert proteins into energy for the liver cells. In a damaged liver, ALT is released into the bloodstream, and the level increases.
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST) – AST is an enzyme that metabolizes amino acids. AST is usually present in the bloodstream in a low amount. An increased level of AST is an indication of liver damage.

  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) –  ALP is an enzyme that is present in the liver and bones, and it is important in the breaking down of proteins. An increased level of ALP indicates liver diseases, such as blocked bile duct or few bone diseases.

  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) –  An enzyme found in a large amount in the liver, bile ducts, and pancreas. An increased level of GGT can be a sign of liver or bile duct damage. 


Liver Protein Test

The total protein is the amount of protein present in your blood. Two main proteins found in blood are albumin and globulins.

  • Globulin – It is a protein found in the liver and it helps the immune system to fight against infections. Decreased levels of globulin can be a sign of liver damage.

  • Albumin – Another protein in the liver is albumin. An albumin test measures how well the liver is making proteins that the human body requires. Low albumin may be an indication of liver damage.

  • Prothrombin (PT) – Prothrombin is a protein found in the liver and is responsible for blood clotting. A prothrombin test evaluates how much time it takes for the blood to clot. 


Bilirubin Test

Bilirubin is a yellowish fluid made in the body when the red blood cells break down. This test measures the bilirubin level in the body. If the liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak out of the liver into the blood. This is one of the major causes of jaundice.


Why Does a Person Need a Liver Function Test?

The liver function test helps determine the liver’s health. The liver is responsible for numerous vital functions of the body, such as:


  • Regulating blood clotting
  • Removing contamination
  • Production of cholesterol, proteins, bile, and enzymes.
  • Minerals and vitamins storage
  • Regulating hormones
  • Regulation of blood sugar
  • Making factors to increase immunity


Symptoms For Liver Disease


Symptoms for an unhealthy liver include:

  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Discolour body discharge (dark urine or light stools)
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal bruising
  • Weight loss

Liver problems can make a person sick and can be life-threatening. Please consult your physician for further opinion.


Preparation For LFT

Few food items and medications may affect the levels of enzymes and proteins in the blood. Doctors may advise the patients to avoid some food items and medicines before the test.

During Liver Function Test, blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the arm region, and then tested in the pathology laboratory.


Risk of Liver Function Test

Blood drawn is a part of a routine protocol and rarely cause any side effect. But there may be some minor risks of giving blood samples. These includes:

  • Bleed under the skin or hematoma
  • Fainting
  • Infection


Results:

Standard blood test for LFT includes the following parameters:


Test Name

Reference Range

ALT

7-55 U/L

AST

8-48 U/L

ALP

40-129 U/L

Total Protein

6.3-7.9 g/dL

Albumin

3.5-5 g/dL

Bilirubin

0.1-1.2 mg/dL

GGT

8-60 U/L

PT

9-13 seconds


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Liver Function Test (LFT): Purpose, Procedure, Cost and Risk | HOD
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Liver Function Test (LFT): Purpose, Procedure, Cost and Risk | HOD
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Read liver function test (LFT), test procedure, purpose, cost and risk. LFT test includes ALT and AST tests, that measure enzymes that your liver releases in response to damage or disease. The test measures how well the liver creates albumin, while the bilirubin test measures how well it disposes of bilirubin. ALP can be used to evaluate the bile duct system of the liver.
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