What Is a Hepatic Function Panel Test?


Quick Answer

A hepatic function panel test is a medical test that determines whether or not a person's liver is functioning properly. The results of the test help determine the necessity of further tests or medical treatment.

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Full Answer

The hepatic function test is a blood test that may help determine if the liver is diseased or there are other medical conditions that need to be addressed. A doctor may order this blood test if a patient shows symptoms indicative of liver disease, such as jaundiced skin, vomiting, fever, dark urine and lethargy.

The hepatic panel measures the amount of bilirubin, proteins, liver enzymes and albumin present in the blood. The levels found may either be too high or too low, indicating disease or damage to the liver. Doctors may also order the panel for preventative measures in patients taking certain prescriptions or who are at high risk for hepatitis. People who consume high levels of alcohol on a regular basis may also be at risk for liver disease and need to be monitored.

The liver functions as a filtering system for the blood stream. It processes waste from hemoglobin, detoxifies the blood, and stores bile, cholesterol and vitamins. These functions are critical and necessary for life. The hepatic panel exposes any issues and helps doctors determine a course of treatment.

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