How do you read liver test results?


Quick Answer

Liver function tests often involve many different measurements that can often be hard to understand. The main values measured in a liver blood test are the aminotransferases (ALT and AST), each accompanied with a range that is considered normal, states eMedicineHealth.

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Full Answer

Liver blood tests are used to detect an injury or inflammation in the liver. Liver blood tests are typically used in conjunction with a comprehensive metabolic panel, including kidney function and electrolyte levels. The typical range for an ALT value falls between 7 and 56 units per liter. A typical AST value should lie somewhere between 10 and 40 units per liter, states eMedicineHealth.

Elevated levels of liver enzymes signify some kind of liver damage or injury. Acute increases in these levels often indicates a sudden injury to the liver. Chronic elevation indicates the presence of ongoing liver injury or illness. While duration of elevation is important, degree of elevation is also something that must be looked at closely, recommends eMedicineHealth. Moderate elevation may indicate mild inflammation or injury of the liver. However, in extreme cases, these levels may be elevated up to 10 or 20 times normal values, suggesting that very serious liver damage is occurring. Some of the most common diseases that cause elevated levels of AST and ALT are acute and chronic viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver damage, hemochromatosis, and diminished blood flow to the liver from stroke or heart attack.

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