The Liver Function Test includes several blood tests measuring specific proteins and liver enzymes in the blood. This combination of blood tests is designed to give a complete picture of the state of the liver.
Some of these blood tests are associated with the integrity of the liver cells (i.e. ALT), some with liver function (i.e. albumin) and some with diseases linked to the biliary system (i.e. alkaline phosphatase).
The Liver Function Test is often used to detect liver disease and measure potential liver damage. Liver diseases often cause only mild symptoms in the early stages. The Liver Function Test specifically includes the following blood test measurements:
Albumin: Albumin is a type of protein in your blood.
Globulin: Globulin is a type of protein that is important for fighting disease.
Total Protein: The amount of total protein evaluates kidney functions and the albumin / globulin ratio are general indices of overall health and nutrition.
Total Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a pigment removed from the blood by the liver. Levels are used to evaluate liver and gallbladder function.
Alkaline Phosphatase: Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found mainly in bones and the liver. Specific levels can indicate liver or bone disease.
LDH: LDH is an enzyme found in all the cells in the body. Anything which damages cells including injury or disease will raise amounts in the blood.
SGOT (also called AST): AST/SGOT is also a liver and muscle enzyme. Specific levels may indicate problems with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.
ALT (SGPT): Alanine Transaminase (ALT) is typically measured to determine if the liver is damaged or diseased. If the liver is damaged or diseased, it will release ALT into the blood.