Hepatic Function

Hepatic Function Test and health information

Do you know how well your liver is working? 

Find out how healthy your liver is with Ulta Lab Tests' hepatic function panels and liver blood tests.

The liver is an incredibly important organ in the body. It's responsible for over 400 functions, including processing nutrients from food and converting toxins into harmless substances that can be removed from the body. But did you know that a healthy liver also plays a role in weight loss, energy levels, and even mood? If you want to feel your best every day of the year, it's time to get tested!

Click on the title of the article below to discover more about the liver and hepatic lab testing that can help you.

Order your hepatic function panels and liver blood tests from the list below to take charge of your health.

Ulta Lab Tests offers affordable hepatic function panels and liver blood tests so you can find out just how healthy your liver is. We offer fast results with no hidden fees or surprise charges. We provide affordable lab tests online with 2,100 sites nationwide, and Quest Diagnostics results in 24 to 48 hours for most tests. Ulta Lab Tests provides accurate test results for your health. The quality service you deserve without breaking the budget is ensured with our low prices. Ulta Lab Tests is fast and reliable! 

Take control of your health by ordering your hepatic function panels and liver blood tests from the list below.


Name Matches
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]

  • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, Quantitative [ 235 ]
  • Ceruloplasmin [ 326 ]
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]
  • Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) and AFP-L3 [ 19529 ]

  • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, Quantitative [ 235 ]
  • Ceruloplasmin [ 326 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Reflex Confirmation [ 498 ]
  • Hepatitis A Antibody, Total [ 508 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody (IgM) [ 4848 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Hepatitis C AB with reflex to HCV RNA, QN, PCR [ 8472 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]
  • Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) and AFP-L3 [ 19529 ]

  • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, Quantitative [ 235 ]
  • Ceruloplasmin [ 326 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Reflex Confirmation [ 498 ]
  • Hepatitis A Antibody, Total [ 508 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody (IgM) [ 4848 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Hepatitis C AB with reflex to HCV RNA, QN, PCR [ 8472 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]
  • Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) and AFP-L3 [ 19529 ]
  • DCP (Des-Gamma-Carboxy-Prothrombin) [ 19982 ]
  • Hepatitis C Viral RNA, Quantitative, Real-Time PCR [ 35645 ]
     

Tests in the Guide to Liver Lab Tests and Liver Function Test Interpretation


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Description: The Hepatic Function Panel is a blood test that measures multiple markers to evaluate the health of your liver.

Also Known As: Liver Profile Test, Liver Function Test, LFT, Liver Enzyme Test, Liver Test, Liver Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Hepatic Function Panel test ordered?

When someone is at risk for liver dysfunction, a liver panel, or one or more of its components, may be requested. Here are a few examples:

  • People who are taking drugs that could harm their liver
  • Those who are alcoholics or who use a lot of alcohol
  • Those who have a history of hepatitis virus exposure, either known or suspected
  • Individuals with a history of liver illness in their families
  • Overweight people, especially those with diabetes and/or high blood pressure

When a person exhibits signs and symptoms of liver disease, a liver panel may be done; however, most people with liver disease do not have any of these symptoms until the disease has been present for years or is very severe. Here are a few examples:

  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Appetite loss.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Swelling and/or pain in the abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Urine that is dark in color and feces that is light in color
  • Pruritus
  • Diarrhea

To make a diagnosis, no single collection of liver tests is usually used. Several liver panels are frequently done over the course of a few days or weeks to aid in determining the source of the liver illness and assessing its severity.

When liver illness is discovered, the liver panel or one or more of its components can be used to monitor it on a regular basis over time. A liver panel may be conducted on a regular basis to assess the efficacy of treatment for the liver condition.

What does a Hepatic Function Panel blood test check for?

A liver panel is a collection of tests used to diagnose, evaluate, and track the progression of liver illness or damage. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, and it is placed behind the lower ribs in the upper right section of the belly. Drugs and substances that are detrimental to the body are metabolized and detoxified by the liver. It makes blood clotting factors, proteins, and enzymes, as well as regulating hormone levels and storing vitamins and minerals. Bile, a fluid produced by the liver, is delivered to the small intestine via ducts to aid in fat digestion or to the gallbladder to be stored and concentrated for later use.

Inflammation, scarring, bile duct blockages, liver tumors, and liver dysfunction can all be caused by a range of disorders and infections that cause acute or chronic liver damage. Toxins, alcohol, narcotics, and some herbal medications can all be dangerous. Before signs like jaundice, dark urine, light-colored feces, itching, nausea, exhaustion, diarrhea, and unexplained weight loss or increase appear, there may be considerable liver damage. To reduce damage and preserve liver function, early identification is critical.

The liver panel assesses the enzymes, proteins, and chemicals generated, processed, or removed by the liver, as well as those that are altered by liver injury. Some are produced by damaged liver cells, while others indicate a reduction in the liver's ability to execute one or more activities. When these tests are performed combined, they provide a picture of a person's liver's health, an indication of the severity of any liver injury, changes in liver status over time, and a starting point for further diagnostic testing.

Lab tests often ordered with a Hepatic Function Panel test:

  • GGT
  • Prothrombin Time and International Normalized Ratio
  • LD
  • Hepatitis A Testing
  • Hepatitis B Testing
  • Hepatitis C Testing
  • Emergency and Overdose Drug Testing
  • Ethanol
  • ANA
  • Smooth Muscle Antibody
  • Anti-LKM-1
  • Drugs of Abuse Testing
  • Copper
  • Ceruloplasmin
  • DCP
  • AFP Tumor Markers
  • Alpha-1
  • Antitrypsin
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ammonia

Conditions where a Hepatic Function Panel test is recommended:

  • Liver Disease
  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Wilson Disease
  • Cirrhosis

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Hepatic Function Panel test?

A liver panel can be performed to check for damage to the liver, especially if someone has an illness or is taking a medication that could harm the liver. For regular screening, a comprehensive metabolic panel, which is commonly conducted as part of a general health checkup, may be ordered instead of a liver panel. The majority of the liver panel is included in this group of tests, as well as other tests that evaluate other organs and systems in the body.

If a person has signs and symptoms that indicate suspected liver malfunction, a liver panel or one or more of its component tests may be done to assist identify liver disease. If a person has a known illness or liver disease, testing may be done at regular intervals to assess the liver's health and the efficiency of any therapies. To evaluate and monitor a jaundiced newborn, a variety of bilirubin tests may be ordered.

Abnormal tests on a liver panel may necessitate a repeat study of one or more tests, or the entire panel, to evaluate if the elevations or declines continue, and/or additional testing to discover the etiology of the liver dysfunction.

Typically, a panel consists of numerous tests performed simultaneously on a blood sample.

What do my Liver Panel Test results mean?

The findings of a liver panel test are not diagnostic of a specific condition; rather, they show that the liver may be malfunctioning. Abnormal liver test results in a person who has no symptoms or recognized risk factors may signal a transitory liver injury or reflect something going on elsewhere in the body, such as the skeletal muscles, pancreas, or heart. It could potentially signal the presence of early liver disease, necessitating more testing and/or periodic monitoring.

The results of liver panels are generally compared. Several sets of results from tests conducted over several days or weeks are sometimes analyzed together to see if a pattern emerges. Each person's test findings will be unique, and they will most likely alter over time. A healthcare professional examines the combined findings of liver tests to learn more about the underlying disease. Further testing is frequently required to discover the cause of the liver damage and/or illness.

Abnormal test results may signal a need to review a person's dosage or medication choice if they are taking medicines that may impact their liver. When a person with liver disease is being monitored, the healthcare provider will look at the findings of the liver panel together to see if liver function or damage is getting worse or better. Increased abnormalities in bilirubin, albumin, and/or PT, for example, may suggest a decline in liver function, whereas steady or improved findings may indicate liver function preservation or improvement.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel or CMP is a blood test that is a combination of a Basic Metabolic Panel, a Liver Panel, and electrolyte panel, and is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

Also Known As: CMP, Chem, Chem-14, Chem-12, Chem-21, Chemistry Panel, Chem Panel, Chem Screen, Chemistry Screen, SMA 12, SMA 20, SMA 21, SMAC, Chem test

Collection Method: 

Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: 

Serum 

Test Preparation: 

9-12 hours fasting is preferred. 

When is a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test ordered:  

A CMP is frequently requested as part of a lab test for a medical evaluation or yearly physical. A CMP test consists of many different tests that give healthcare providers a range of information about your health, including liver and kidney function, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. To confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, abnormal test results are frequently followed up with other tests that provide a more in depth or targeted analysis of key areas that need investigating. 

What does a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel blood test check for? 

The complete metabolic panel (CMP) is a set of 20 tests that provides critical information to a healthcare professional about a person's current metabolic status, check for liver or kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance, and blood glucose and blood protein levels. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed. 

The following tests are included in the CMP: 

  • Albumin: this is a measure of Albumin levels in your blood. Albumin is a protein made by the liver that is responsible for many vital roles including transporting nutrients throughout the body and preventing fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. 

  • Albumin/Globulin Ratio: this is a ratio between your total Albumin and Globulin  

  • Alkaline Phosphatase: this is a measure of Alkaline phosphatase or ALP in your blood. Alkaline phosphatase is a protein found in all body tissues, however the ALP found in blood comes from the liver and bones. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage, gallbladder disease, or bone disorder. 

  • Alt: this is a measure of Alanine transaminase or ALT in your blood. Alanine Aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the highest amounts in the liver with small amounts in the heart and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • AST: this is a measure of Aspartate Aminotransferase or AST. Aspartate Aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in the heart and liver, with smaller amounts in the kidney and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • Bilirubin, Total: this is a measure of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is an orange-yellowish waste product produced from the breakdown of heme which is a component of hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The liver is responsible for removal of bilirubin from the body. 

  • Bun/Creatinine Ratio: this is a ratio between your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and Creatinine result.  

  • Calcium: this is a measurement of calcium in your blood. Calcium is the most abundant and one of the most important minerals in the body as it essential for proper nerve, muscle, and heart function. 

  • Calcium: is used for blood clot formation and the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. 

  • Carbon Dioxide: this is a measure of carbon dioxide in your blood. Carbon dioxide is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.  

  • Chloride: this is a measure of Chloride in your blood. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels. 

  • Creatinine: this is a measure of Creatinine levels in your blood. Creatinine is created from the breakdown of creatine in your muscles and is removed from your body by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

  • Egfr African American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Egfr Non-Afr. American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Globulin: this is a measure of all blood proteins in your blood that are not albumin. 

  • Glucose: this is a measure of glucose in your blood. Glucose is created from the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s primary source of energy. 

  • Potassium: this is a measure of Potassium in your blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in cell metabolism, nerve and muscle function, and transport of nutrients into cells and removal of wastes products out of cells. 

  • Protein, Total: this is a measure of total protein levels in your blood. 
    Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. 

  • Sodium: this is a measure of sodium in your blood's serum. Sodium is a vital mineral for nerve and muscle cell function.

  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood UreaNitrogen (BUN). Urea is a waste product created in the liver when proteins are broken down into amino acids. Elevated levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test: 

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test is recommended: 

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test? 

The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a broad screening tool for assessing organ function and detecting diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP test may also be requested to monitor known disorders such as hypertension and to check for any renal or liver-related side effects in persons taking specific drugs. If a health practitioner wants to follow two or more separate CMP components, the full CMP might be ordered because it contains more information. 

What do my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test results mean? 

The results of the tests included in the CMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. A high result on one of the liver enzyme tests, for example, is not the same as a high result on several liver enzyme tests. 

Several sets of CMPs, frequently performed on various days, may be examined to gain insights into the underlying disease and response to treatment, especially in hospitalized patients. 

Out-of-range findings for any of the CMP tests can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related complications, to name a few. If any of the results are abnormal, one or more follow-up tests are usually ordered to help determine the reason and/or establish a diagnosis. 

Is there anything else I should know? 

A wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications can have an impact on the results of the CMP's components. Any medications you're taking should be disclosed to your healthcare professional. Similarly, it is critical to provide a thorough history because many other circumstances can influence how your results are interpreted. 

What's the difference between the CMP and the BMP tests, and why would my doctor choose one over the other? 

The CMP consists of 14 tests, while the basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a subset of those with eight tests. The liver (ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin) and protein (albumin and total protein) tests are not included. If a healthcare provider wants a more thorough picture of a person's organ function or to check for specific illnesses like diabetes or liver or kidney disease, he or she may prescribe a CMP rather than a BMP. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Please note the following regarding BUN/Creatinine ratio: 

The lab does not report the calculation for the BUN/Creatinine Ratio unless one or both biomarkers’ results fall out of the published range. 

If you still wish to see the value, it's easy to calculate. Simply take your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and divide it by your Creatinine result.  

As an example, if your Urea Nitrogen result is 11 and your Creatinine result is 0.86, then you would divide 11 by 0.86 and get a BUN/Creatinine Ratio result of 12.79. 


Serum albumin measurements are used in the monitoring and treatment of numerous diseases involving those related to nutrition and pathology particularly in the liver and kidney. Serum albumin is valuable when following response to therapy where improvement in the serum albumin level is the best sign of successful medical treatment. There may be a loss of albumin in the gastrointestinal tract, in the urine secondary to renal damage or direct loss of albumin through the skin. More than 50% of patients with gluten enteropathy have depressed albumin. The only cause of increased albumin is dehydration; there is no naturally occurring hyperalbuminemia

Description: An Alkaline Phosphatase test or ALP is a blood test that is used to screen for and monitor liver disease, bone disorders, and gallbladder disease.

Also Known As: ALP Test, Alk Phos Test, Alkp Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Alkaline Phosphatase test ordered?

An ALP test may be requested as a standard laboratory test, frequently in conjunction with a liver panel of further assays. When a person exhibits signs of a liver or bone issue, it is frequently requested in conjunction with a number of additional tests.

What does an Alkaline Phosphatase test check for?

An enzyme called alkaline phosphatase is present in many bodily tissues. The cells that make up bone and the liver have the highest quantities of ALP. Liver illness or bone diseases are the most frequent causes of high blood levels of ALP. The blood's concentration of ALP is determined by this test.

ALP is located in the liver on the margins of cells that converge to form bile ducts, which are minuscule tubes that transport bile from the liver to the bowels, where it is required to aid in the digestion of dietary fat. Osteoblasts, specialized cells involved in bone production, are responsible for producing ALP in bone. Isoenzymes, which are produced in unique forms by each type of tissue, are ALP.

For instance, when one or more bile ducts are obstructed, ALP blood levels may significantly rise. Gallbladder inflammation or gallstones may be the cause of this. Blood ALP levels rise slightly more subtly in cirrhosis, liver cancer, hepatitis, and when liver-toxic medications are used.

Increased ALP levels can result from any condition that promotes excessive bone growth, including bone diseases like Paget's disease. Because their bones are still growing, children and adolescents often have higher blood ALP levels. Because of this, the ALP test needs to be interpreted differently for children and adults.

It is feasible to distinguish between the various ALP forms generated by various bodily tissues. A test may be run to identify which isoenzyme is elevated in the blood if it is unclear from clinical signs and symptoms whether the cause of a high ALP test result is liver or bone illness.

Lab tests often ordered with an Alkaline Phosphatase test:

  • AST
  • ALT
  • GGT
  • Bilirubin
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Hepatic Function Panel
  • Alkaline Phosphatase Isoenzymes

Conditions where an Alkaline Phosphatase test is recommended:

  • Lier Disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Jaundice
  • Osteoporosis
  • Paget’s Disease
  • Vitamin D Deficiency

How does my health care provider use an Alkaline Phosphatase test?

Using the alkaline phosphatase test, liver disease and bone diseases can be found.

Damaged liver cells produce more ALP into the blood under situations that harm the liver. Because ALP levels are particularly high at the margins of the cells that unite to form bile ducts, this test is frequently used to identify obstructed bile ducts. Blood levels of ALP are frequently high when one or more of them are blocked, such as by a tumor.

ALP levels in the blood can be impacted by any illness or disease that hinders bone development or increases bone cell activity. For instance, an ALP test may be used to identify tumors that have metastasized to the bones or to identify Paget's disease, a condition that results in deformed bones. This examination could occasionally be used to track the progress of patients being treated for Paget's disease or other bone disorders such vitamin D insufficiency.

Tests for the ALP isoenzyme may be performed to identify the cause if ALP readings are elevated but it is unclear whether this is related to liver or bone illness. To distinguish between liver and bone illness, one may additionally perform a GGT test and/or a test for 5'-nucleotidase. The levels of GGT and 5'-nucleotidase are elevated in liver illness but not in disorders of the bones.

What do my Alkaline Phosphatase test results mean?

High ALP typically indicates the presence of a disease that increases bone cell activity or liver damage.

The liver is typically where the elevated ALP is coming from if other liver tests, such as bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase, or alanine aminotransferase, are also high. The high ALP is probably the result of liver illness if GGT or 5-nucleotidase levels are also elevated. If one of these two tests comes out normal, a bone issue is probably to blame for the high ALP. The ALP is typically coming from bone if calcium and/or phosphorus readings are abnormal.

A test for ALP isoenzymes may be required to differentiate between bone and liver ALP if it is unclear from signs and symptoms or other regular testing whether the high ALP is from the liver or bone.

ALP test findings are typically analyzed alongside those of other liver disease testing. ALP is commonly significantly less increased than AST and ALT in several types of liver illness, such as hepatitis. ALP and bilirubin may increase substantially higher than AST or ALT when the bile ducts are obstructed. ALP levels in liver cancer may also be higher.

ALP may be elevated in some bone illnesses, such as Paget's disease, which causes enlarged and misshapen bones, or in some cancers that extend to the bone.

ALP levels will eventually drop or return to normal if Paget's disease is successfully treated in a patient. ALP levels should fall if someone with liver or bone cancer responds to therapy.

Other illnesses include Hodgkin's lymphoma, congestive heart failure, ulcerative colitis, and specific bacterial infections can cause moderately high ALP.

ALP levels may briefly drop after cardiac bypass surgery or blood transfusions. Levels may drop as a result of a zinc deficiency. Hypophosphatasia, a rare genetic bone metabolism condition, can result in extremely low levels of ALP that persist for a long time. Wilson disease, protein insufficiency, and malnutrition are further potential reasons of low ALP.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


When the Total Alkaline Phosphatase activity is increased, the Isoenzymes are useful in determining the source of the increased activity.



Description: The Alpha-Fetoprotein and AFP-L3 test is a blood test used to detect the protein alpha-fetoprotein which is produced by the liver.

Also Known As: AFP Test, Total AFP Test, AFP-L3 Test, Alpha-Fetoprotein Tumor Markers, Alpha-Fetoprotein Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Alpha-Fetoprotein and AFP-L3 test ordered?

An AFP blood test may be ordered by a healthcare provider:

  • When abdominal masses are felt during a medical examination or imaging testing reveal possible malignancies, it is likely that someone has liver cancer or certain malignancies of the testicles or ovaries.
  • When someone has been diagnosed with and treated for cancer of the liver, testicles, or ovaries, the success of treatment is being assessed.
  • When someone is being watched for a recurrence of cancer
  • Patients with persistent hepatitis or liver cirrhosis should be followed up on.
  • When a person has chronic liver illness, an AFP-L3 percent is occasionally ordered to help evaluate the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, test the efficiency of hepatocellular carcinoma treatment, or monitor for recurrence.

What does an Alpha-Fetoprotein and AFP-L3 blood test check for?

Alpha-fetoprotein is a protein produced predominantly by the liver of a developing baby and the yolk cavity of a developing embryo. When a baby is born, AFP levels are usually high and then rapidly drop. Liver injury and certain malignancies can drastically raise AFP levels. This test determines the amount of AFP in your blood.

When the liver cells regenerate, AFP is generated. AFP can be continuously high in chronic liver illnesses such hepatitis and cirrhosis. Certain cancers can produce extremely high quantities of AFP. Because of this, the AFP test can be used as a tumor marker. Many persons with hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatoblastoma, a kind of liver cancer that affects babies, have elevated levels of AFP. They're also discovered in certain persons who have testicular or ovarian cancer.

There are various different types of AFP. The normal AFP test measures total AFP, which includes all of the AFP variations. In the United States, this is the most common AFP test.

One of the AFP variations is known as L3 because of its propensity to attach to a protein called Lens culinaris agglutinin in the lab. The AFP-L3 percent test compares the quantity of AFP-L3 to the total amount of AFP and is a relatively recent test. Increased L3 levels are linked to a higher likelihood of developing hepatocellular carcinoma in the near future, as well as a worse prognosis, because L3-related malignancies are more aggressive.

AFP-L3 can be higher in people with hepatocellular carcinoma than in those with benign liver disorders who have low total AFP. In Japan, tumor markers such as total AFP and AFP-L3 are utilized in conjunction with ultrasound to monitor hepatocellular carcinoma. This procedure differs from that in the United States and Europe, but healthcare practitioners in the United States occasionally order the two tests.

Lab tests often ordered with an Alpha-Fetoprotein and AFP-L3 test:

  • CEA
  • CA-125
  • hCG Tumor Marker
  • DCP

Conditions where an Alpha-Fetoprotein and AFP-L3 test is recommended:

  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer

How does my health care provider use an Alpha-Fetoprotein and AFP-L3 test?

The tumor marker alpha-fetoprotein is used to detect and diagnose malignancies of the liver, testicles, and ovaries. Despite the fact that the test is frequently done to monitor persons with chronic liver illnesses including cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis B, or hepatitis C who have an elevated lifetime risk of developing liver cancer, most current guidelines do not advocate it. An AFP test, together with imaging studies, may be ordered by a healthcare provider to try to diagnose liver cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.

If a person has been diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma or another type of AFP-producing cancer, an AFP test may be done on a regular basis to assess treatment response and disease recurrence.

When comparing the amount of the AFP variation AFP-L3 to the total amount of AFP, an AFP-L3 percent is occasionally ordered. The AFP-L3 percent test is not extensively used in the United States, but it is becoming more popular in other nations, such as Japan. The test is used to assess the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, particularly in people with chronic liver disease, as well as the response of the cancer to treatment.

What do my Alpha-fetoprotein test results mean?

Increased AFP levels can suggest the presence of cancer, such as liver cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular germ cell tumors. However, not all cancers of the liver, ovary, or testicles produce substantial amounts of AFP.

Other malignancies, such as stomach, colon, lung, breast, and lymphoma, might sometimes have elevated levels, but it is rarely ordered to check these illnesses. Cirrhosis and hepatitis are two disorders that can generate elevated levels.

When using AFP as a monitoring tool, lower levels suggest a therapeutic response. If concentrations do not considerably drop after cancer therapy, usually to normal or near-normal levels, some tumor tissue may still be present.

If AFP levels start to rise, the cancer is most likely to return. However, because AFP levels can be deceiving in hepatitis or cirrhosis, AFP levels can be misleading. If AFP levels are not raised prior to therapy, the test will not be useful in monitoring treatment effectiveness or detecting recurrence.

People with chronic liver disease have a higher chance of getting liver cancer when their AFP levels rise from normal to moderately raised to significantly elevated. When total AFP and AFP-L3 percent are highly higher, the person is more likely to develop or have hepatocellular carcinoma in the next year or two. In persons with chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, however, both AFP and AFP-L3 percent concentrations might be increased and fluctuate. In these circumstances, a significant increase in AFP is more essential than the test result's numerical value.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: An ALT test is a blood test that is used to screen for and diagnose liver disease.

Also Known As: Alanine Aminotransferase Test, Alanine Transaminase Test, GPT Test, SGPT Test, Serum Glutamic Pyruvic Transaminase Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Alanine Transaminase test ordered?

When a person undergoes a standard health examination, ALT may be ordered as part of a full metabolic panel.

When a person has signs and symptoms of a liver problem, a healthcare provider will usually prescribe an ALT test.

Because many people with minor liver damage have no signs or symptoms, ALT may be ordered alone or in combination with other tests for persons who are at an elevated risk for liver disease. With modest liver injury, ALT levels will rise even if there are no other symptoms.

ALT may be ordered on a frequent basis during the course of treatment to establish whether the medication is effective when it is used to monitor the treatment of persons with liver disease.

What does an Alanine Transaminase blood test check for?

Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in liver and kidney cells. It's also found in much lesser concentrations in the heart and muscles. This test determines the amount of ALT in your blood.

The enzyme ALT converts alanine, a protein amino acid, into pyruvate, an important intermediary in cellular energy production. ALT levels in the blood are low in healthy people. ALT is released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured, frequently before more evident indications of liver injury, such as jaundice, appear. As a result, ALT is a useful test for detecting liver disease early on.

The liver is a critical organ positioned directly behind the rib cage on the upper right side of the abdomen. It is engaged in a variety of vital bodily functions. The liver aids in the digestion of nutrients, creates bile to aid in fat digestion, produces a variety of essential proteins such as blood clotting factors and albumin, and breaks down potentially hazardous compounds into safe substances that the body may utilize or discard.

Damage to liver cells can be caused by a variety of factors, resulting in an elevation in ALT. The test is most useful for detecting damage caused by hepatitis or medications or other toxins that are harmful to the liver.

As part of a liver panel, ALT is frequently tested alongside aspartate aminotransferase, another liver enzyme. When the liver is injured, both ALT and AST levels rise, albeit ALT is more specific for the liver and may be the only one to rise in some circumstances. An AST/ALT ratio can be used to help distinguish between different types of liver injury and their severity, as well as to distinguish liver injury from heart or muscle damage.

Lab tests often ordered with an Alanine Transaminase test:

  • AST
  • ALP
  • GGT
  • Bilirubin
  • Liver Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Albumin
  • Total Protein
  • Prothrombin Time
  • Hepatitis Panel General

Conditions where a an Alanine Transaminase test is recommended:

  • Liver Disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Jaundice
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholism
  • Wilson Disease
  • Hemochromatosis

How does my health care provider use an Alanine Transaminase test?

The alanine aminotransferase test is commonly used to diagnose liver damage. It's frequently ordered as part of a liver panel or complete metabolic panel with aspartate aminotransferase to screen for and/or diagnose liver disease.

ALT is an enzyme found mostly in liver and kidney cells. ALT is released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured. As a result, ALT is a useful test for detecting liver disease early on.

Although ALT is more specific to the liver than AST, they are both considered to be two of the most significant tests for detecting liver impairment. When AST is directly compared to ALT, an AST/ALT ratio is calculated. This ratio can assist distinguish between different types of liver disease and identify cardiac or muscle harm.

To assess which type of liver illness is present, ALT values are frequently matched to the results of other tests such as alkaline phosphatase, total protein, and bilirubin.

ALT is frequently requested to monitor the therapy of people with liver disease to evaluate if it is effective, and it can be ordered alone or in combination with other tests.

What do my ALT test results mean?

A low ALT level in the blood is normal and anticipated. The most prevalent cause of ALT levels that are higher than normal is liver disease.

Acute hepatitis and viral infections are the most common causes of very elevated ALT values. ALT levels are normally elevated for 1-2 months after acute hepatitis, but they might take up to 3-6 months to return to normal. ALT levels may also be significantly raised as a result of exposure to liver-toxic medications or other chemicals, or in situations that produce reduced blood flow (ischemia) to the liver.

In chronic hepatitis, ALT levels are frequently less than four times normal. Because ALT levels in this scenario regularly fluctuate between normal and slightly elevated, the test may be ordered frequently to observe if a trend emerges. Other reasons of mild ALT elevations include bile duct obstruction, cirrhosis, heart damage, alcohol addiction, and liver cancers.

ALT is frequently used in conjunction with an AST test or as part of a liver panel. See the Liver Panel article for more information on ALT values in relation to other liver tests.

The ALT level is usually greater than the AST level in most forms of liver disorders, and the AST/ALT ratio is low. There are a few exceptions: in alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and heart or muscle injury, the AST/ALT ratio is frequently more than 1, and it may be greater than 1 for a day or two after the onset of acute hepatitis.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


IMPORTANT - The specimen for this test must be collected at a patient service center that can collect, store and transport frozen samples as outlined below.  

IMPORTANT: Before ordering this lab test, check and confirm with the selected patient service center to ensure that they can collect, store and transport frozen samples as outlined below.

Preferred Specimen(s) 

2 mL frozen plasma collected in an EDTA (lavender-top) tube

Collection Instructions 

Collect blood from stasis-free vein of patient (e.g., no tourniquet). Patient should not clench fist during collection, as muscular exertion often increases venous ammonia levels. Patient should avoid smoking prior to phlebotomy since smoking increases plasma ammonia levels. Tubes should be filled completely and kept tightly stoppered at all times. Place immediately on ice. Separate plasma from cells within 20 minutes and freeze plasma immediately.

Transport Temperature 

Frozen

Specimen Stability 

Room temperature: Unstable
Refrigerated: Unstable
Frozen -20° C: 72 hours
Frozen -70° C: 7 days

Reject Criteria 

Hemolysis • Lipemia • Received thawed • PPT Potassium EDTA (white-top) tube

Clinical Significance

Ammonia is one of the by-products of protein metabolism. Elevated blood ammonia levels have been associated with severe liver dysfunction such as hepatic encephalopathy, coma resulting from cirrhosis, severe hepatitis, Reye's syndrome, and drug hepatotoxicity. Also, elevated blood ammonia has been reported in cardiac failure, azotemia, and pulmonary emphysema. Correlation between plasma ammonia and the degree of encephalopathy can be erratic.



More than fifty million people worldwide have chronic liver disease. These individuals deal with Wilson's disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and more.

Unfortunately, these kinds of conditions can lead to death if they're not diagnosed and treated early. The earlier you catch it, the better your outcome will be.

Even if you aren't a heavy drinker, you should worry about your liver health. Many non-drinkers still develop liver issues.

To check your liver health, you need a hepatic function panel. Hepatic function blood tests can help identify whether or not you have liver disease or are at risk for developing it.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Hepatic Function Decline?

Hepatic function decline refers to a decrease in your liver's ability to function properly. The liver is a football-sized organ that lies just under the rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. It's essential to digestion and filtering.

Your liver is the organ that filters toxins like alcohol out of your system.

Due to genetic and environmental conditions, some people take damage to their livers. Over time, too much damage can lead to liver failure. Unfortunately, this can lead to a decline in quality of life and may even lead to death.

Risk Factors for Hepatic Function Decline

Since liver function depends on your genetic and environmental factors, there are many risk factors that researchers have connected with hepatic functional decline:

  • A family history of liver disease
  • Exposure to toxins and chemicals
  • Unprotected sexual encounter(s)
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Tattoos
  • Body piercings
  • Injecting drugs (specifically while sharing needles)
  • Exposure to other people's bodily fluids
  • Having had a blood transfusion before 1992

If any of these risk factors apply to you, you should pay special attention to your liver function panels. Your primary care physician will perform a hepatic function blood test each year when you have routine blood work done.

However, you should let your physician know if have any of these risk factors. With more information, your physician can make better decisions about your health. 

Causes of Hepatic Function Decline

As we discussed, the liver is an essential organ. It performs a lot of jobs for the human body. Because of this, there are many causes that can lead to hepatic function decline:

  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Accumulation of fat in the liver, which is also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Infections such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C
  • Genetic conditions such as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Wilson's disease, and hemochromatosis
  • Cancers and other neoplasms such as liver cancer, bile duct cancer, and liver adenoma
  • Immune systems problems such as autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and primary biliary cholangitis
  • The use of some prescription or over-the-counter medications
  • The consumption of some herbs or supplements

Since the liver is one of the primary filtering systems in the body, it's essential to note how important your consumption habits are. In other words, to protect your liver and other vital organs, you should be careful about what you eat and take. Too much alcohol, fatty foods, medications, and other substances can lead to hepatic function decline.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Hepatic Function Decline?

Unfortunately, liver problems don't always come with signs and symptoms until the disease is fully developed. As you may remember, time is of the essence with these kinds of conditions. So, you (and your physicians) should be working together to try to diagnose liver-related conditions as early as possible.

Since signs and symptoms don't show up until later in the disease course, you need to make sure that you're getting your regular checkups. Your primary physician is the first line of diagnosis for these kinds of conditions since they perform hepatic function lab tests at your regular appointments.

These liver function panels can let your physician know whether or not there is any damage to your liver. If they do find signs of damage, they can work with you on reversing current damage and/or stopping future damage.

If your liver condition were to advance, here are some signs and symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Jaundice, a condition in which your skin and eyes turn a yellowish tint
  • Itchy skin
  • Easily bruising
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling in the lower legs and ankles
  • Urine that is dark in color
  • Stool that is pale in color

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. If you're already experiencing jaundice (a sign that your condition has progressed to later stages), you should go to the emergency room.

How Is Hepatic Function Decline Diagnosed?

When you see your doctor, they're going to start by gathering an extensive health history. In addition, they're going to perform a physical examination.

During these two steps, they can detect any genetic markers or physical changes that may be associated with hepatic function decline.

Afterward, your physician will order blood tests to check your liver function. We will discuss more specific tests below.

In addition to these tests, your physician may order an ultrasound, CT, or MRI to visualize any changes to the liver.

Lastly, your physician may want to collect a biopsy of the liver to check for damage to the liver on the cellular or tissue level.

The Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor Hepatic Function Decline

A full hepatic function panel test will check the following values:

  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Albumin/Globulin ratio
  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • ALT
  • AST
  • Bilirubin
  • Protein

All of these values are essential in detecting liver disease and understanding how far the disease has progressed.

Get a Hepatic Function Panel With Ulta Lab Tests

If you think that you may have hepatic function decline, you need to get your blood work done as soon as possible. Luckily, our hepatic function panel tests every biomarker of liver decline.

With confidential results and a quick turnaround, you'll know about your liver health within a few days. Other benefits of using Ulta Lab Tests for your testing needs include:

  • Affordable pricing on all tests
  • No insurance needed
  • No doctor’s referral required
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

With confidential results and a quick turnaround, you'll know about your liver health within a few days. Take control of your health with Ulta Lab Tests!