What is a Liver Function Test Panel?
Also known as: Liver blood test panel, Hepatic function panel, Liver panel
LFTs or Liver Function Test is a series of blood tests that used to evaluate liver conditions, such as inflammation, disease and damage. It comprises of blood tests that measure the concentrations of various proteins and enzymes in the blood that are either formed by liver cells or released due to damaged liver cells.
Why is the test performed?
You may undergo a liver function test or liver blood test as part of a regular checkup or to check for symptoms of liver disease. It helps assess how well your liver is working and can be used to:
- Detect liver infections such as hepatitis and cirrhosis
- Monitor the disease stage and progression, such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis, and assess how well a treatment is working
- Track your response to drugs and other treatments
- Diagnose the severity of a disease, especially scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
- Monitor possible side effects of medications
When is a liver function test needed?
You would be asked to undergo a lab test for liver function in the following situations:
- To scrutinize damage from severe liver infections, such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- To check the side effects of certain medications known to affect the liver
- If you may already have a liver disease, to monitor the disease and how well a treatment is working
- If you are experiencing the liver disorder symptoms such as yellowish skin and eyes, abdominal pain, and swelling in legs and ankles
- If you have certain medical conditions such as high triglycerides, diabetes, high blood pressure, or anemia
- If you consume alcohol heavily
- If you have gallbladder disease
An LFT includes:
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Alanine transaminase (ALT better known as SGPT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST better known as SGOT)
- Total Protein
- Direct and Total Bilirubin
- Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT)
- L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD)
- Prothrombin time (PT)
Other tests that can be used as a part of LFT include a coagulation screen, together with bilirubin and urobilinogen in urine.
When will I receive my results?
Once completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How do I prepare for a liver function test? Do I need to fast?
No preparation or fasting required. But, it is important to tell your doctor before you undergo a lab test for liver function about:
- All the current medications (prescription, non-prescription, supplements) you are taking
- Bleeding problems, if any
- Allergies you have, if any
- If you are pregnant
What are the risks?
The risks of undergoing a lab test for liver function is minimal. Some patients may undergo bleeding or haematomas (large bruises) at the venepuncture site (where blood was taken). However, these mostly occur in patients with severe liver disease as the liver fails to produce sufficient clotting factors required for bleeding to stop. Other risks may include fainting, dizziness and lightheadedness.
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