Abnormal liver function tests


Abnormal liver function tests

Your liver is a vitally important organ that helps to build important proteins in your body and to get rid of toxins and waste products.  Liver function tests are a set of blood tests commonly done to check on the health of your liver. Changes in liver function tests give a clue as to whether your liver may be under strain, inflamed, infected, or diseased – and how badly. The pattern of the liver function tests can give a clue to the cause and can allow early detection of unsuspected problems, and monitoring of known problems. Common liver function tests include: 

Alanine transaminase (ALT)

Alanine transaminase (ALT) is an enzyme found in the liver. If the liver is damaged or inflamed, ALT can be released into the blood. This causes ALT levels to increase. A high ALT level may be a sign of liver inflammation or damage. 

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme found in several parts of your body, including your heart, liver, and muscles. 

A high result on an AST test might indicate a problem with the liver or muscles. 

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found in your bones, bile ducts, and liver. An ALP test is typically ordered in combination with several other tests. An ALP test can be used to evaluate diseases affecting the bile ducts within the liver 

Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)

GGT is another enzyme found in bile ducts and the liver.  GGT is a somewhat non-specific marker, in that many causes of liver dysfunction may cause the GGT to rise.  It can also be elevated by toxins that affect the liver such as alcohol. 


Albumin is one of the main proteins made by your liver. It performs many important bodily functions.  An albumin test measures how well your liver is making this particular protein. 


Bilirubin is a waste product from the breakdown of red blood cells. It’s ordinarily processed by the liver. It passes through the liver before being excreted through your stool. 

A damaged liver can’t properly process bilirubin. This leads to an atypically high level of bilirubin in the blood. Certain inherited diseases can also raise bilirubin levels, even when liver function works as expected. 

If you have abnormal liver function tests, Dr Neil can help you interpret the results and discuss what the results mean for you. If Dr Neil suspects you have liver disease, he can help arrange other tests to help understand the problem such as liver imaging or additional blood tests.