Liver Function Tests (LFT)
The liver is a very important organ in the body as it performs several functions ranging from energy storage, the breakdown of food, production of proteins, cleansing of blood from toxins and wastes, to the breakdown of drugs. The liver Function Tests include several different tests that collectively evaluate the condition of the liver and its proper functioning by measuring the levels of some enzymes and proteins.
Followings are the common Liver Function Tests: Bilirubin, Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Albumin and total protein, Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), Aspartate transaminase (AST), Alanine transaminase (ALT).
Why is the test performed?
Liver Function Tests are useful in diagnosing and monitoring liver disease or damage. The test is also helpful in screening for hepatitis and monitoring medicines known to affect liver function. In addition, the test may also be recommended to monitor the progression of liver diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, etc. and to monitor the effectiveness of any ongoing treatment.
When is the test recommended?
A physician may recommend Liver Function Tests if he or she notices any of the following signs and symptoms of liver diseases:
Loss of energy
Dark urine or light stools
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample from a vein in the arm is collected.
How to prepare for the test?
It is better to follow the instructions of the healthcare provider prior to taking the test as some medicines and supplements may affect the test result. The person, on whom the test will be conducted, may be asked to not eat or drink anything (except water) or take any medicine before the test.