Liver Function Test

Liver Function Test

Liver function tests, also called Liver Panel or Hepatic Panel. These are blood tests that aid in diagnosing and monitoring liver disease or damage. These tests assess the levels of specific enzymes and proteins in the blood, providing information about the overall health of the liver and how well it works.

A liver panel will often measure several substances in a single blood sample. It may include various enzymes, proteins, and byproducts associated with liver function.

How is the liver function test done?

Liver panel tests can be conducted at a hospital or in a laboratory. A laboratory technician will locate a vein in the arm, clean the site, and insert a small needle to draw blood into a vial. The process typically takes a few minutes. The blood sample will be sent to a lab for analysis, and the results may be available within a day.

Why is it done?

Liver function tests serve the following purposes:

  • To diagnose liver diseases – hepatitis, cirrhosis
  • Monitoring the progression of diseases such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis and assessing the effectiveness of treatments.
  • Evaluating the severity of liver conditions, particularly cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
  • Monitoring for potential side effects of medications.
  • Liver function tests analyze the levels of specific enzymes and proteins in the blood.

Abnormal levels, either higher or lower than the normal range, can indicate liver issues. Some common liver function tests include:

  • Alanine transaminase (ALT) test: ALT is an enzyme predominantly present in the liver and aids in protein breakdown. Elevated levels of ALT in the bloodstream may indicate liver damage.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test: ALP is an enzyme found in the liver, bile ducts, and bones. Increased ALP levels can suggest liver damage or disease, a blocked bile duct, or certain bone diseases.
  • Albumin and total protein test: Albumin is among the various proteins synthesized in the liver, serving essential functions such as infection-fighting and other vital processes within the body. When albumin and total protein levels are lower than normal, it can be indicative of liver damage or disease.
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST) test: AST is another liver enzyme that helps metabolize amino acids. Higher AST levels in the blood may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Bilirubin test: Bilirubin is produced during the breakdown of red blood cells. Typically, the liver eliminates bilirubin from the body. Elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood, leading to a condition called jaundice, may suggest liver damage.
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) test: Increased levels of the GGT enzyme can indicate damage to the liver or bile ducts.

General symptoms of liver problems include lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting, weakness or feeling very tired, yellowish skin or eyes, dark urine or light-coloured stools, or swelling in the belly.

What is the normal range of liver function tests?

Bilirubin – Direct: 0.0 to 0.3 mg/dL

Bilirubin – Total: 0.0 to 1.2 mg/dL

AST: 8 to 48 U/L

ALT: 7 to 55 U/L

Total Proteins: 6.3 to 7.9 g/dL

Albumin: 3.5 to 5 g/dL

ALP: 40 to 129 U/L

These are the ranges of test values for adults.

However, it is essential to note that these ranges are provided as general guidelines. Always consult a doctor or refer to the specific reference ranges provided by the laboratory conducting the liver function tests for an accurate interpretation of the results.


  1. Cleveland Clinic. Liver Function Tests. [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic; [updated 2021 Apr 28; cited 2023 Jun 24]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17662-liver-function-tests
  2. Liver function tests. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/liver-function-tests/about/pac-20394595
  3. Liver Function Tests. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/liver-function-test-lft
  4. Liver Function Tests: Purpose and procedure. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/liver-function-tests

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