Liver function tests are also known as LFT or Liver Panel or Liver Profile or Hepatic Function Tests. These are blood tests that help to diagnose and monitor any kind of liver disease or damage. They help in measuring the levels of certain enzymes and proteins present in the blood. They help in assessing the normal functioning of the liver.
The Liver function Test is done:
• To evaluate the function of liver periodically
• To screen for any kind of liver infections/conditions/diseases such as hepatitis
• To monitor the progression of liver disease such as alcoholic or viral hepatitis
• In cases of signs of liver damage such as jaundice
• To check extent of liver damage such as in case of cirrhosis of liver
• To monitor the progress of treatment ongoing for liver conditions/diseases
• In cases when there is risk for injury to liver
• To monitor in the cases where there are chances of getting side effects due to medications on liver
Frequently asked questions
How is the blood sample taken?
To take the blood sample, a tourniquet (elastic) band is placed tightly on the upper arm. The patient is asked to make a fist. This helps in the buildup of blood filling the veins and it becomes easy to collect the blood. The skin is cleaned before inserting the needle in the vein in order to prevent bacteria from entering. The needle is then inserted into the vein in the arm and the blood sample is collected in the vacutainer.
What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease?
The signs and symptoms of liver disease may include weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling, pain in the abdomen, yellowing of eyes or skin (jaundice), dark urine, light-colored stool, itching, and diarrhea.
What factors can cause an increased risk for liver disease?
The factors which can cause an increased risk for liver disease include taking medications that can damage the liver, heavy intake of alcohol, viral hepatitis, or possible chances for exposure to hepatitis viruses, having a family history of liver disease, obesity, especially if a person has diabetes or high blood pressure.
What are the functions of the liver?
The functions of the liver include filtering and breaking down harmful substances from the blood which are then removed from the body in urine and stools, production of bile that helps to digest foods like fat; storing glycogen which can be used for energy, converting nutrients from the food into essential blood components, regulating clotting of blood, maintaining hormone balances, producing factors that help the immune system to fight infection, and removing bacteria from the blood.
Why is family history important in the case of liver diseases?
Certain liver conditions such as hemochromatosis (deposition of iron salts in the tissues), alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, and Wilson disease might be inherited from the family and can cause damage to the liver. Early detection of these diseases can help to start the treatment at the earliest.
Should I inform my doctor if I am taking any medicines?
Yes, please inform your doctor if you are taking any medicines or supplements as it might interfere with the test results.