Chinese Medical Information Portal Website (Taiwan Medical Network-TMN) - OldDoc Wu's Series
(Established in March 1996)
Items of Liver Test
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)


Items of liver test

For consumers:

(Key words: liver test, liver function test, AST, ALT, GGTP, Al-P, bilirubin, hepatitis marker, tumor marker, AFP)

  • Liver test is a group of tests done for the detection and identification of a liver disease, and those tests which assess the degree of damage of the liver are also included.
  • It is usually called liver function test, however it is actually not only the test for the assessment of the function of a liver but also including the tests to detect the presence and identify the cause of liver diseases. Therefore, it is more reasonable to be called as liver test rather than liver function test.
  • Transaminase (AST, ALT) is measured to detect the presence of liver injury, and biliary enzymes (Al-P, GGTP) to identify the obstruction of biliary tract. Bilirubin level rises on both liver cell injury and biliary obstruction.
  • Hepatitis markers are examined to identify the type of hepatitis virus that causes the liver damage.

For professionals:

Object of Tests: To

  • A: Detect the presence of
    1. Active liver cell damage
      AST, ALT, Bil, ^-GT (GGTP), Al-P
    2. Cholestasis
      Bil, ^-GT (GGTP), Al-P
    3. Fibrosis
      PIIIP, IV Collagen, TGF-]
    4. Impaired reticuloendothelial system function
      ^-Gl, ZTT

  • B: Identify the etiology: by detection or determination of
    1. Hepatitis markers, virus markers
    2. Tumor markers
      AFP, AFP-L3, Isoenzymes, PIVKA-II, CEA, CA19-9
    3. Unconjugate bilirubin
    4. Ceruloplasmin, serum copper, urine copper
    5. Serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, iron
    6. Alpha-1-antitrypsin

  • C: Assess the functional reserve of the liver on
    1. Hepatocyte (Liver cell)
    2. Biliary tract
    3. Circulatory system
    4. Reticuloendothelial system
Mode of Tests

  • A: Blood tests:
    AST, ALT, Al-p-tase, GGT, Bil, Alb, Blood coagulation factors (Pro-T, APTT, Normotest, Factor V, Factor VII), Rapid turnover proteins, Bile acids, HGF, Glucose, Cholesterol, Fibrinogen.

  • B: Tolerance test:
    Antipyrine clearance test, Aminopyrine breath test, Caffein clearance test, BSP retension test, ICG clearance test.
    (BSP test is not done because of occasional anaphylaxis)

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

(TMN) Since June 09, 2002

(Dr. Wu's Liver D) Since Jan. 01, 2008

(Olddoc)Since Jan. 01, 2008

(TMN) Since Jan. 01, 2008