A series of specific blood tests is performed to see whether the liver functions properly. These tests can also help differentiate acute from chronic liver diseases, or hepatitis from cholestasis (biliary obstruction).
The most common blood tests include the followings:
Serum Bilirubin - High bilirubin levels usually indicate obstructed bile flow, or a defect in processing of bile by the liver. Bilirubin is produced by the liver and excreted in the bile.
Serum Albumin – Albumin is a protein produced by the liver, and lower levels of albumin are often associated with many chronic liver disease.
Serum Alkalane Phosphatase – Higher levels of alkalane phosphatase (an enzyme in the bile) often indicate obstructed bile flow, liver damage or some types of cancer.
Serum aminotransferase (transaminase, SGOT, SGPT) – These enzymes are released by damaged liver cells. It contains ALT (SGPT) and AST (SGOT). Their level (especially ALT) is higher in case of hepatitis.
Prothrombin time (PT) – This test measures the clotting time for the blood. Blood clotting requires vitamin K and a protein (prothrombin) produced by the liver. Damaged liver cells and obstructed bile flow may prevent from blood to clot properly.
Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) –This enzyme is mixed with blood when the liver is damaged particularly by alcohol, or bile duct is obstructed.
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – This protein is produced by fetal liver and testicles, and indicates hepatitis or cancer.
Mitochondrial Antibodies (AMA) – Presence of these antibodies may indicate primary biliary cirrhosis, chronic active hepatitis, and other autoimmune disorders.
Anti-HBs – Good immunity symptoms of HBV infection