Liver Panel

A liver panel, also known as liver (hepatic) function tests or LFT, is used to detect liver damage or disease.

One or more of these tests are ordered when symptoms suspicious of a liver condition are noticed. These include: jaundice, dark urine, or light-colored bowel movements; nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea; loss of appetite; vomiting of blood; bloody or black bowel movements; swelling or pain in the belly; unusual weight change; or fatigue or loss of stamina. One or more of these tests may also be ordered when a person has been or may have been exposed to a hepatitis virus; has a family history of liver disease; has excessive alcohol intake; or is taking a drug that can cause liver damage.

A liver panel usually includes 7 tests that are run at the same time on a blood sample. These include:

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – an enzyme mainly found in the liver; the best test for detecting hepatitis.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Elderly: may be slightly higher than adult values

  • Adult/child: 4-36 international units/L at 37° C or4-36 units/L (SI units)

  • Values may be higher in men and in African Americans.

  • Infant: may be twice as high as adult values.

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – an enzyme related to the bile ducts; often increased when they are blocked

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Elderly: slightly higher than an adult.

  • Adult: 30-120 units/L or 0.5-2.0 microKat/L (SI units)

  • Child:/adolescent:

  • Less than 2 years: 85-235 units/L

  • 2-8 Years: 65-210 units/L

  • 9-15 years: 60-300 units/L

  • 16-21 years: 30-200 units/L

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) – an enzyme found in the liver and a few other places, particularly the heart and other muscles in the body.

NORMAL FINDINGS

Age / Normal value (units)

  • 0-5 days / 35-140

  • Less than 3 yr / 15-60

  • 3-6 yr / 15-50

  • 6-12 yr / 10-50

  • 12-18 yr / 10-40

  • Adult / 0-35 units/L or 0-0.58 microKat/L (SI units) (Females tend to have slightly lower than males)

  • Elderly / Slightly higher than adults.

Bilirubin – two different tests of bilirubin often used together (especially if a person has jaundice): total bilirubin measures all the bilirubin in the blood; direct bilirubin measures a form made in the liver.

  • Adult/elderly/child

  • Total bilirubin: 0.3-1.0 mg/dL or 5.1-17 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Indirect bilirubin: 0.2-0.8 mg/dL or 3.4-12.0 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Direct bilirubin: 0.1-0.3 mg/dL or 1.7-5.1 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Newborn total bilirubin:1.0-12.0 mg/dL or17.1-205 micromole/L (SI units)

  • Urine: 0.0-0.2 mg/dL

Albumin – measures the main protein made by the liver and tells how well the liver is making this protein

Total Protein - measures albumin and all other proteins in blood, including antibodies made to help fight off infections.

NORMAL FINDINGS

Adult/Elderly

  • Total protein: 6.4-8.3 g/dL or 64-83 g/L (SI units)

  • Albumin: 3.5-5 g/dL or 35-50 g/L (SI units)

  • Globulin: 2.3-3.4 g/dL

  • Alpha1 globulin: 0.1-0.3 g/dL or 1-3 g/L (SI units)

  • Alpha2 globulin: 0.6-1 g/dL or 6-10 g/L (SI units)

  • Beta globulin: 0.7-1.1 g/dL or 7-11 g/L (SI units)

Children

  • Total protein

  • Premature infant: 4.2-7.6 g/dL

  • Newborn: 4.6-7.4 g/dL

  • Infant: 6-6.7 g/dL

  • Child: 6.2-8 g/dL

  • Albumin

  • Premature infant: 3-4.2 g/dL

  • Newborn: 3.5-5.4 g/dL

  • Infant: 4.4-5.4 g/dL

  • Child: 4-5.9 g/dL

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.