Liver Function Test (LFT)

Introduction

A liver function test (LFT) may be a biopsy that measures the amount of several substances (enzymes and proteins) excreted by your liver. Levels of these substances that are higher or lower than normal can indicate liver problems. The liver function test (LFT) is additionally called a hepatic function panel (hepatic refers to the liver). The liver has got to perform different sorts of biochemical, synthetic and excretory functions, so no single biochemical test can detect the worldwide functions of the liver.

A blood sample is taken by a needle from the vein in your arm. A rubber band is wrapped around your upper arm. It feels tight for a few seconds. You may feel nothing in the least from the needle, otherwise, you may feel a little brief sting or pinch. The blood sample is collected during a tube, which is shipped to the laboratory for analysis. This tube is shipped to the laboratory for analysis. 

Liver 

The liver is found within the upper right-hand portion of the abdomen, beneath the diaphragm, and on top of the stomach, right kidney, and intestines. Shaped sort of a cone, the liver may be a dark reddish-brown organ that weighs about 3 pounds. The liver regulates most of the chemicals within the blood and excretes a product called bile. This helps carry waste products far away from the liver. The blood leaving the stomach and intestine passes through the liver. The liver processes the blood and breaks down balances, and creates the nutrients and also metabolizes medicines into forms that are easier to use for the remainder of the body or that are nontoxic. 

Some of the well-known functions of the liver include the following:

  • Production of bile, which helps take away waste and break down fats within the intestine during digestion
  • Production of certain proteins for blood plasma
  • Production of proteins and cholesterol to help carry fats through the body
  • Conversion of excess amount of glucose into glycogen in the body for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as required 
  • Regulates the level of amino acids in the blood, which form the building blocks of proteins
  • Processing of haemoglobin to be used of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
  • Conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an outcome of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)
  • Clearing the blood from any kind of medicine and other poisonous substances
  • Regulating blood clotting
  • preventing infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream
  • Clearance of bilirubin, also from red blood cells. because of the accumulation of bilirubin, the skin and eyes turn yellow. 

Liver Function Test

The liver function test is not done routinely but only requested to detect the presence of damage or inflammation in your liver. 

The compounds to be measured are : 

  • alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 
  • gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
  • bilirubin 
  • albumin

The different uses of Liver function tests include:

  • screen for potential liver infections and problems affecting your liver, such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
  • help in the diagnosis of other conditions such as gallstone.
  • monitor the progression and severity of liver disease and determine how well a treatment is working 
  • monitor side effects if you’re taking prescription or non-prescription medicines which will affect liver functioning. 

Commonly available liver tests include-

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – when your liver is damaged/broken, ALT is released into your bloodstream and levels increase.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – higher than normal levels may indicate liver damage or diseases, such as a blocked bile duct, or certain bone diseases.
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) – and increase in AST levels may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Bilirubin – bilirubin is produced during the traditional breakdown of red blood cells. Raised bilirubin level (called jaundice) may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Albumin and total protein – less than normal levels of albumin and total protein indicate liver damage or disease.

Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) – above normal levels may indicate liver or common bile duct damage.