Liver Function Test (LFT)

Liver function tests are the blood tests used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage. The tests analyse the levels of certain enzymes and proteins in your blood. Some of these tests evaluate how well the liver is performing its normal functions of producing protein and clearing bilirubin, a blood waste product. Other liver function tests analyse the enzymes that liver cells release in response to damage or disease.

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What is a Liver Function Test (LFT)? 

Liver function tests, also called liver chemistries, help evaluate the health of your liver by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in your blood. They can also determine the progression or treatment of an existing disease.

Depending upon the test, either higher-or lower-than-typical values of these enzymes or proteins can indicate a problem with your liver.

Some of the reasons that liver function tests may be performed include screening for diseases such as hepatitis, monitoring the side effects of your medications, and examining the severity of the liver disease.


What are the other names for a Liver Function Test?

Liver profile, LFT test, Liver panel, Liver test, Hepatic panel


What are the tests included in a Liver Function Test(LFT)?

The liver function tests include

  • Alanine transaminase (ALT) 

  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

  • Total Bilirubin TB

  • Direct Bilirubin DB.

  • Indirect Bilirubin IDB

  • Albumin (ALB)

  • Total Protein (TP)

  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT)


What does a Liver Function Test(LFT) measure?

As a panel test, liver function involves multiple measurements. When the test is ordered, doctors can modify exactly which measurements need to be done. For this reason, there is no universal standard for what is analysed on a liver panel. And nevertheless, some components of the test are more common. In most of the cases, a liver panel includes the following measurements: 

  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): AST is an enzyme in your liver.  High blood levels could be a sign of damage or disease.

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT): ALT is another enzyme that helps break down proteins and is found mainly in your liver.  High levels in your blood could mean you have liver damage.

  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): ALP is an enzyme in your liver, bile ducts, and bones. You might have high values if you have liver damage or disease, and a blocked bile duct, or bone disease.

  • Bilirubin: Your body makes bilirubin when it breaks down red blood cells. Usually, your liver cleans up the bilirubin in your body. If you have high levels of a problem called jaundice, you may have liver damage.

  • Albumin: Albumin is a protein made by the liver that prevents the fluid from leaking out of the bloodstream.

  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT): High levels of the GGT enzyme could point to liver or bile duct damage.

  • Total protein: This analyses the sum of two kinds of protein in the blood known as albumin and globulin. The test may analyse the relative levels of albumin and globulin, which is reported as the A/G ratio.

  • Globulins: Globulins are a class of proteins in the blood.


What’s the normal range of the Liver Function Test(LFT)?

The normal ranges are as follows: 

  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT): 13-69 U/L 

  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST): 15-46 U/L

  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): 38-126 U/L 

  • Total Serum Protein: 5.5-8.0 g/L 

  • Albumin: 3.5-5.0 g/L

  • Globulin: 2.0-3.5 g/L 

  • Total Bilirubin: 0.0-1.1mg/dL

  • Conjugated bilirubin (direct): 0.0-0.3mg/dL 

  • Unconjugated bilirubin (indirect): 0.0-1.1mg/dL

  •  GGT: 9-48 U/L

Who should get a Liver Function Test(LFT)?

Doctors use liver function tests to diagnose the health of a person’s liver. If the doctor suspects someone has liver disease or liver damage, they may perform one or more liver function tests to identify the underlying cause.


Symptoms of liver disease can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Symptoms of pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, or calves

  • Jaundice, or yellowing eyes and skin

  • Dark urine

  • Alcohol use disorder

  • A family history of liver disease

  • History of intravenous drug use

  • Overweight or obese

What are the preparations needed for the Liver Function Test?

In some cases, you will be required to be in fasting for up to 12 hours before the test. That means not eating any food or drinking any beverages besides water. In some cases, you may not be required to be fast. Check with your doctor. 

Some medications can also affect the liver, so you will need to tell your doctor about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and/or dietary supplements that you take.

Ask the doctor’s office for details about pretest preparations, and make sure to follow instructions closely.

What is the cost of a Liver Function Test?

What is the type of sample required for Liver Function Test?

This test requires a blood sample.


Who performs a Liver Function blood test?

A provider then sends the samples to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on machines known as analysers.


What should I expect during my Liver Function blood test?

The blood sample for liver function tests is usually drawn through a small needle inserted into a vein in the bend of your arm. The needle is attached to a small tube to collect your blood. You may feel a quick pain as the needle is inserted into your arm and experience some short-term discomfort at the site after the needle is removed.


What should I expect after my Liver Function blood test?

After a healthcare provider has collected your blood sample, they’ll send it to a laboratory for testing. Once the test results are back, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.


What are the risks of a Liver Function blood test?

These blood tests are very common and don’t carry any significant risks. You may have a  slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise may develop there.


When can I expect my Liver Function blood results?

The reports are available over email or Whatsapp within 6 hours after the collection of the blood sample collection.


What do the results of a Liver Function blood test mean?

Blood test reports, including liver function test blood test reports, usually provide the following information:

  • The name of the blood test or what is being analysed in your blood

  • The value or measurement of your blood test result

  • The normal measurement range for that test

  • This information indicates if your result is normal or abnormal, high or low.

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What tests are done to check liver function?

Some of the common liver function tests include Alanine transaminase (ALT), Aspartate transaminase (AST), Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), Albumin, Total Protein, Albumin / Globulin Ratio, Bilirubin (total, direct, indirect), and Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT).


What is the normal range for liver function tests?

The reference range for liver function tests includes: 

  • SGPT(ALT) - 13 - 69 U/L

  • SGOT(AST) - 15 - 45 U/L

  • Alkaline phosphatase - 38 - 126 U/L

  • Albumin - 3.5 - 5.0 g/L

  • Total Protein - 6.3 - 8.2 g/L

  • Total bilirubin - 0.2 - 1.3 mg/dL

  • Direct bilirubin - 0.0 - 0.3 mg/dL

  • Indirect bilirubin - 0.0 - 1.1 mg/dL

  • Gamma GT - 12 - 58 U/L

These results are for adults. Normal ranges vary slightly from lab to lab and are different for children. 


Can a blood test detect liver damage?

A blood test can detect liver damage by performing a liver function test. It measures the level of liver enzymes and proteins and clears bilirubin, a blood waste product. Liver cells are released in response to damage or disease.     


What does it mean if your liver function test levels are high?

If you have high levels of liver enzymes in your blood. It often indicates inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells leak higher than normal amounts of certain chemicals into the bloodstream, including liver enzymes. This increased liver enzymes in the blood.

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