To control, detect, evaluate and monitor acute and chronic inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), liver infection, liver disease and / or damage; to monitor the side effects of certain medications.
When to be tested?
Periodically to assess liver function; whenever you are at risk for liver damage; when you are taking medicines that may affect your liver; when you have liver disease; when you have symptoms associated with liver damage, such as jaundice.
Is the champion required?
A blood sample drawn from a vein in the arm;
Do you need test preparation?
You can be instructed to fast at night only water you can consume. Follow the instructions given to you. Inform your healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbal medicines, vitamins, and supplements you are taking as some medicines/supplements affect test results.
A liver panel is a set of tests performed together to detect, evaluate, and monitor liver disease or damage. The liver is a vital organ located in the upper right part of the abdomen and behind the lower ribs. It occupies most of the space below the ribs and also a space in the upper abdomen.
The liver is responsible for several essential functions of the body, such as:
- Filtration and removal of harmful substances from the blood that will leave the body in urine and feces
- Intake of bile that helps in digestion, especially fat
- Storage of glycogen, which is used for energy.
- Conversion of nutrients from the food we eat into essential blood components.
- Regulation of blood clotting
- Maintaining hormonal balances
- Storage of some vitamins
- Taking factors that help the immune system fight infection
In addition, liver cells convert ammonia (the final product of amino acids) into a less harmful substance called urea, which the body can excrete through urine.
A variety of diseases and infections can cause acute or chronic liver damage, causing inflammation (hepatitis), (cirrhosis), bile duct obstruction, liver tumors, and liver dysfunction. Alcohol, medicines, some herbal supplements and toxins can also cure the liver. A significant amount of liver damage can occur before symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine, light-colored stools, pruritus, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and unexplained weight loss appear. Early detection of liver damage is essential in order to minimize damage and preserve liver function.
The liver panel usually consists of several tests that measure the following:
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – an enzyme found mainly in the liver; the best test for detecting hepatitis.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – an enzyme that binds to the bile ducts, but is also produced by the bones, intestines and during pregnancy by the placenta (after birth); often increase when bile ducts become blocked or damaged.
- Aspirin aminotransferase (AST) – an enzyme found in the liver and some other organs, especially the heart and other muscles in the body.
Albumin – the main protein made by the liver; the level may be affected by liver and kidney function and by decreased production or increased loss.
Total Protein (TP) – measures albumin and all other proteins in the blood, including antibodies made to help fight infections
Bilirubin – two different bilirubin tests that are often used together (especially if a person has jaundice): total bilirubin measures all the bilirubin in the blood; direct bilirubin measures a form that is conjugated (combined with another compound) in the liver.
Depending on your healthcare provider and the laboratory performing the test, additional tests may be included on a liver panel. Examples include:
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) – another enzyme found mainly in liver cells; is a very sensitive marker for liver diseases, but is not specific as it cannot distinguish between different causes of liver diseases. GGT is not recommended for routine use. Used in conjunction with ALP to determine the source of ALP growth, whether from bone or liver. High levels of GGT can be found with alcohol consumption.
Lactate dehydrogenase (LD) – an enzyme released by cell damage; found in cells throughout the body
Prothrombin time (PT) – the liver produces proteins involved in blood clotting (coagulation); PT measures coagulation function and, if abnormal, may indicate liver damage.
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – associated with the regeneration or proliferation of liver cells and can be produced by several types of tumors.
Autoimmune antibodies (eg, ANA, SMA, anti-LKM-1) – associated with autoimmune liver disease (autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)).