Liver Function Test: Indications, Preparations, Warnings and Procedures
Windowofworld.com – Liver function test is a type of test that aims to assess the health condition of the liver, both routinely and when liver disease occurs. Liver function tests are carried out by measuring the levels of certain chemical compounds in the blood, then comparing them with the normal values of these chemical compounds. If the results of chemical measurements show abnormal levels, it can be suspected of disease or liver damage.
To measure the condition of liver health or liver in general and accurately, liver function tests carried out not only one type. There are so many test methods that can be done on a patient to find out certain aspects of the condition of his liver health. However, from the various methods available, the types of tests that are generally carried out are:
1. Serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase (SGPT) or alanine transaminase (ALT) tests.
This test measures the levels of the SGPT enzyme in the blood. Under normal conditions, the SGPT enzyme is contained in liver cells and only slightly in the blood. If the liver cells are damaged, the SGPT enzyme will be released from the liver cells into the blood, so the content of the enzyme in the blood will increase.
2. Serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) tests.
This test measures the levels of the SGOT enzyme in the blood. Almost the same as SGPT enzymes, under normal conditions, SGOT enzymes can be found at low levels in the blood. However, if liver damage occurs, the levels of the SGOT enzyme in the blood will increase.
3. Albumin test.
Albumin is a protein produced specifically by the liver. Albumin in the blood serves to provide nutrients to the tissues, prevent leakage of fluids from blood vessels, and help transport hormones, vitamins and other compounds in the blood. A liver that is not working properly, can be characterized by lower than normal albumin concentrations.
4. Bilirubin test.
Bilirubin is a product of the destruction of red blood cells, which are produced by the liver. Bilirubin will be formed by the liver and excreted through the digestive tract with feces. If the liver or liver is damaged, then the disposal of bilirubin will be inhibited, causing an increase in bilirubin levels in the blood.
5. Alkaline phosphatase test.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme that is usually found in bile, gall bladder, and liver. If the liver or gallbladder is disturbed or damaged, the concentration of the ALP enzyme will increase.
6. Gamma-glutamyl transferase test.
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) is an enzyme found in various organs of the body, but the highest concentration is in the liver. GGT will increase if there is damage to the liver or bile duct.
Indications for Liver Function Test
Someone will be advised by a doctor to undergo a liver function test if suffering from liver or liver disease, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, as well as problems with the gallbladder and its ducts, such as gallstones. Symptoms that usually occur in people with liver disease include:
- Urine is dark like tea
- Pale stools like putty
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach ache
In addition, liver function tests can be performed on:
- Mothers who are planning
- Patients who are undergoing treatment, so that the side effects of these drugs are known to the liver.
- Patients who are undergoing treatment for liver disease, to find out the success of the therapy.
Heart Function Test Warning
Liver function test are generally tests conducted by taking blood samples from veins. This blood sample is usually safe and rarely causes risks or side effects. Some side effects that may arise from blood sampling include:
Preparation of Liver Function Test
In general there is no specific preparation that must be done by the patient before undergoing liver function tests. The patient must notify the doctor and the food that has just been consumed by the doctor. Some foods and medicines can affect the results of reading liver function tests in the laboratory. Patients are also advised to wear short-sleeved shirts or clothes that have arms that are easy to roll.
Procedure for Performing Liver Function Tests
The first step in liver function testing is to clean the skin over the blood vessels to be pierced to prevent blood from germ contamination in the skin and prevent infection. The medical officer will then bind the arm, so that blood collects in the veins before bonding, and veins become easier to see. After that, the medical officer will pierce the vein with a needle, then pair the blood sample tube from the opposite side of the needle. Then blood will flow into the tube. After the blood sample is felt to be sufficient, the medical officer will pull the sample tube and cover the location of the needle puncture with tape.
The blood sample is then taken to the laboratory for analysis using a special method. The results of the analysis of liver function tests are usually used by doctors to evaluate the condition of a patient’s liver by taking into account the symptoms that arise and the risk factors they have. If the patient has no obvious risk factors or there are no specific symptoms, usually the results of abnormal liver function tests indicate injury to the liver or the patient is suffering from early-stage liver disease.
Doctors usually don’t only do one type of test in diagnosing liver damage. Several types of tests are carried out in one blood sample and if necessary, blood sampling is done several times so that the diagnosis of liver damage is more accurate.
If the results of liver function tests do not provide an accurate diagnosis, doctors can perform additional tests, such as ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, to liver biopsy.
After Liver Function Test
Patients are generally allowed to go home and carry out activities as usual after undergoing blood sampling for liver function tests. However, if you feel dizzy after a blood draw, the patient is advised to rest immediately.
Although the results of liver function tests do not provide a specific diagnosis of the liver disease being suffered, these results can be used by doctors to consider the next method of examination or treatment. In addition, the doctor will also evaluate the patient’s symptoms and medical history if the results of liver function tests indicate liver damage. If you consume alcohol often, patients will be advised to stop the habit. If liver damage occurs due to consumption of drugs, then the doctor can suggest a substitute drug or stop using drugs that cause liver damage.