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Total Bilirubin Test

A bilirubin test checks the health of your liver by measuring the amount of bilirubin in your blood or in your urine.

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What is the Total Bilirubin test?

Bilirubin is made during the normal process of the breakdown of red blood cells (RBC). It is yellowish in colour and found in bile, the fluid in your liver. This fluid helps in digesting food. A healthy liver removes most of the bilirubin from your body. If the liver is damaged, bilirubin may leak into your bloodstream.


If there is too much bilirubin in your blood, it might cause health problems. Bilirubin can also be excreted in the urine, causing it to look very dark.


What are the other names for the Total Bilirubin test? 

The other names are: serum bilirubin-total, T-Bil.

What are the test parameters included in the Total Bilirubin test?

There is only one parameter.


What does the Total Bilirubin test measure?

Bilirubin Total analyses the amount of bilirubin present in the blood of a person. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow colour waste pigment that is produced by the normal breakdown of heme. Heme is a component of haemoglobin and is found in red blood cells (RBC). A liver processes the bilirubin and eliminates it from the body. 


Life span of red blood cells (RBC) is about 120 days. Heme, which is released from the haemoglobin is converted into bilirubin, which is called unconjugated bilirubin. It is carried to the liver by proteins, where it gets attached to sugars and becomes conjugated bilirubin.  Conjugated bilirubin enters the bile from the liver and passes through the small intestine. Here, it gets broken down into products of bilirubin that are responsible for giving the characteristic brown colour to the stool.


A small amount of unconjugated bilirubin is released in the bloodstream normally, but there is no virtual presence of conjugated bilirubin in the bloodstream.


Both forms of bilirubin may be analysed or evaluated by the laboratory tests, and total bilirubin might be reported. In case there is an increase in levels of bilirubin, there will be yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes, giving the appearance of jaundice.


What’s the normal range? 

0.2–1.3 mg/dL

Who should get a total bilirubin test? 

Bilirubin Total test is usually done as a part of a group test to check the health of your liver. A bilirubin test can be done for:

  • In case of any signs and symptoms of liver disease such as dark-coloured urine, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, pale skin, and splenomegaly

  • It is done as part of a liver function test or a routine health checkup.

  • In case of history of drinking, heavy alcohol consumption

  • In case of exposure to hepatitis viruses 

  • Newborns are monitored for neonatal jaundice.

Most jaundice in infants causes no problems. But babies are often tested shortly after birth because high bilirubin levels might affect the brain, lead to deafness, or cause intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Is there any preparation needed for the Total Bilirubin test?

No special preparation is required. Fasting is not required.

What is the cost of a Total Bilirubin test?

What is the type of sample required? 

This test requires a blood sample.

Who will perform the Total Bilirubin test?

A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually performs blood draws, including those for total bilirubin tests, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. These samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually.

What should I expect during my Total Bilirubin test?

You may expect to experience the following during the blood test or a blood draw:

  • You have to sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. It is an inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.

  • Once the phlebotomist has located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.

  • They will insert a needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. They may feel like a small pinch.

  • After they insert the needle, the required amount of blood is drawn into a test tube.

  • When they have drawn enough blood for the test, they’ll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the pricked site to stop any bleeding.

  • They apply a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.

This process takes less than five minutes. 

What should I expect after my Total Bilirubin test?

Once the phlebotomist has collected the blood sample, it will be sent to the laboratory for processing. When the reports are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.

What is the risk of the Total Bilirubin test?

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

When can I expect my Total Bilirubin test results?

This report is available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours after the collection of the blood sample.

What do the results of the Total Bilirubin test mean?


Interpreting test results

Bilirubin blood test results might indicate the total level of bilirubin in your blood. Some results can also list the conjugated, or direct, and unconjugated, or indirect bilirubin levels. These two levels add up to the total bilirubin level.


Your test results should also include normal ranges. Reference ranges are the normal range of bilirubin values. Results that fall outside of the reference range, especially those that fall above the upper normal values, might indicate the presence of disease or a need for further testing.


Reference ranges can vary depending on the lab that analyses your blood sample and sends the results.

  • Total bilirubin: 0.2–1.3 mg/dL

  • Direct bilirubin: 0.1–0.3 mg/dL

  • Indirect bilirubin: 0.2–0.7 mg/dL


However, these ranges are not universal. It is important to discuss your results with your healthcare provider, who will be in the best position to interpret what your result means in the context of your overall health.


It is common for infants to have higher bilirubin values in the blood after birth as their livers continue to develop. As such, bilirubin is standard for all infants in their first 48 hours and is also often performed as a precautionary measure to monitor the change in these values. If you are more concerned about your baby’s bilirubin levels, or if your baby is showing any signs of jaundice, it is important to talk with your paediatrician.


A urine bilirubin test result will either indicate a positive result, meaning bilirubin was present in the urine, or a negative result, which means bilirubin was not detected. Usually, healthy people with normal liver function should not have bilirubin in their urine.

What are normal Total Bilirubin test results?

0.2–1.3 mg/dL

Normal ranges might vary slightly among different laboratories. Some of the labs use different measurements or may test different samples. Speak to the doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Liver function tests


How do I book a Total Bilirubin test at home?

Log on to and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

Frequently Asked Questions on Total Bilirubin Test

What if the total bilirubin is high?

If total bilirubin is high in the bloodstream, it may cause jaundice, which can make your eyes and skin turn a yellow colour. The result of the bilirubin test and signs of jaundice might help your doctor check your liver functions and determine if you have liver disease.


What does a bilirubin test indicate?

A bilirubin blood test is done to check the health of your liver. This is also commonly used to help diagnose newborn jaundice. Healthy babies get jaundice because their livers are not developed enough to get rid of enough bilirubin. Newborn jaundice is usually not harmful and it clears within a few weeks.


At what level is bilirubin a concern?

The normal level of bilirubin is 0.2 to 1.3 mg/dL. Anything above normal is usually considered elevated.

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