Chinese Medical Information Portal Website (Taiwan Medical Network-TMN) - OldDoc Wu's Series
(Established in March 1996)
Liver (function) test: introduction
Dr. Wu's Liver diseases
for professionals (medical students and residents) and consumers

by Jau-Shin WU, M.D., Ph.D.
(Posted Sep. 16, 1996; Updated May 14, 2009)


Liver function test & Liver test

  • In clinical practice, usually, all the tests related to the liver disease are called "liver function test".
  • Actually, not all these tests are related to the "function" of the liver, therefore, it is more appropriate to call them "liver test" and not "liver function test".
  • Thus, we use "liver test" for all the tests related to the diseases of the liver, and restrict the term "liver function tests" for tests of testing the real functional reserve of the liver (cells).

Liver test is the test for the diagnosis of the presence and etiology of the liver diseases, and the evaluation of the functional reserve of the liver. It includes the tests for:

A: Presence of

  1. Active liver cell damage
  2. Cholestasis
  3. Fibrosis
  4. Impairment of function of Reticulo-endothelial system

B: Etiology

  • Viral
  • Autoimmune

C: Quantitative assessment of functional reserve

Many of these tests are not specific indicator of liver diseases, and will be influenced by diseases other than liver.

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(By Jau-Shin Wu, M.D.; Posted Sep. 16, 1996; Revised May 12, 2009)

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