Know about Liver Function Tests

Liver Function Tests (LFTs) are a group of blood tests (biochemical tests or blood assays), which provide the information about the condition of the liver of the patient, for whom tests are done. Several tests are done at the same time to know state of the liver of the patient, because no single test can give clear picture of the condition of the liver.ID-10036025

Liver diseases (such as hepatitis, cirrhosis etc.) produce only mild symptoms initially and it is important to detect liver diseases as early as possible, because liver is a vital organ. There are also several other disease where liver may be involved. LFTs can help in detecting liver diseases early. Early detection of liver disease can give better prognosis and outcome of any liver disease.

There are several tests done to determine the state of the liver in a patient, suspected of having liver problem. Liver function tests include, estimation of albumin, globulin, AG ratio (albumin/globulin ratio), total bilirubin, direct and indirect bilirubin, ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT or SGPT (alanine transaminase or serum glutamic pyruvate transaminase), AST or SGOT (aspertate transaminase or serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase), Gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) etc. There are also other tests which are commonly requested along with LFTs, such as lactate dehydrogenase, serum glcose, 5’nucleotidase, coagulation test etc.

Different LFTs indicate different aspect of liver function. For example albumin, globulin, AG ratio (albumin/globulin ratio) etc. indicate functionality of liver. Normal levels indicate good functional liver.

Transaminases (ALT or SGPT and AST or SGOT) indicate cellular integrity of liver, that is they provide information about inflammation of liver cells. If transaminases increase, it is indicative of cell inflammation in liver.

ALP and GGT are indicative of conditions of biliary tract (gall bladder and biliary tract are closely linked with liver and the conditions of gall bladder and biliary tract may affect liver also). Any biliary obstruction will give abnormal results.

High bilirubin level is indicative of liver disease. Bilirubin is a bile pigment and its increase leads to jaundice.

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