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What is the purpose of a liver function panel test?

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Quick Answer

The purpose of a liver function panel test is to see how well the liver is working, explains WebMD. A liver function panel test measures total protein, bilirubin, liver enzymes and albumin. High or low test results can indicate liver damage.

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The liver is essential for functions such as changing nutrients into energy the body can use and breaking down toxins, states WebMD. A liver function panel test is often ordered when a person exhibits symptoms of liver disease, is exposed to hepatitis or is taking medication that can cause liver damage. Some symptoms associated with liver damage include yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue and dark yellow urine.

The liver also makes proteins that are needed for the blood to clot properly, according to WebMD. A clotting test is referred to as prothrombin time, or PT, and shows how long it takes for blood to clot. All labs use the international normalized ratio, or INR, a standardized way to report PT. In a person who has severe liver damage, PT and INR rise because the liver cannot make certain clotting factors. However, not all people with high PT and INR have liver disease as many other factors can contribute to high numbers.

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