Liver Function Tests (LFTs) or Liver Panel Tests, as they are sometimescalled, check how well the liver is functioning, injury or damage to the liver, and the extent of the injury. LFTs are a series of blood tests that measure substances in the blood to determine whether or not the liver is functioning properly. Common LFTs include:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST)
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Total protein
- Total and Direct Bilirubin
Function of The Liver
The liver is a complex organ located in the upper right corner of the abdomen and performs over 500 vital functions in the body. The liver makes proteins that are essential for blood clotting. The liver produces bile, which breaks down fats and assists in the digestion and absorption of fats in the intestines. The production of Bile also helps in the removal of poisons and toxins from the body. The liver also stores fuel (unused glucose) for the body. The liver is also responsible for producing cholesterol and special proteins needed to transport fats throughout the body.
When a blood sample is collected, the sample is sent to a laboratory for testing. Once the specimen is on the machine to be analyzed, all of the panel tests are done simultaneously, and this usually takes about 20 minutes. Emergency tests are almost always reported back in less than an hour. The majority of specimens handled at RML are for outpatient services and are usually shipped to a central location. In such cases, reports are due back at the physician’s office by the next day.