The liver function test is done to assess the overall health condition of the liver. According to the American Liver Foundation, liver diseases and liver failure are life-threatening if left undiagnosed and untreated at the right time. So we recommend everyone to get tested for liver function test at least once every two years.
The article below covers all the significant topics of liver function test like liver function test cost, tests included in the liver panel, normal range, risk factors, procedure, preparation, and how to get tested for liver diseases.
For our readers, who would like to know more about the liver function test cost beforehand, we begin with that section.
How much does the liver function test cost?
Liver function test cost or LFT test cost ranges between $49 and $59 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. To view and compare the prices in different labs offered by different providers, click the button below.
Liver function test cost with insurance
Many health insurance policies in the U.S. cover the liver function test cost. Also, the liver function test is mostly done as a part of the annual preventative medical tests which is covered by all the insurance companies. But some insurance companies cover the cost only when the test is done in the hospital or lab which is in your insurance plan’s network. So we recommend you to check with your insurance company before getting tested.
Our liver function testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance. But, on request, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is a liver function test?
The liver function test is a panel of tests that are done to evaluate the functioning of the liver. This test diagnoses the liver diseases by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes and bilirubin in your blood. If you have been diagnosed with the liver disease earlier, this test will be performed at regular intervals to monitor the condition of your liver and to evaluate the effectiveness of the undergoing treatment.
The liver function test is also referred to as the Hepatic panel.
Why is a liver function test done?
The liver function test is often recommended to diagnose liver infections and liver diseases. Liver dysfunction or failure occurs over a while and it is very difficult to diagnose earlier as the symptoms do not show up or may be mild. But there is also an exception called acute liver failure when the deterioration of the liver happens rapidly. So we recommend everyone above the age of 30 to get a liver function test done as a part of the annual preventive health check-up.
Why is the liver function test important?
The liver is considered as the workhorse of our body performing various important functions including conversion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, being a storehouse of some vitamins, and metabolism of certain hormones and enzymes. Some of the other important functions of the liver include
- Converts carbohydrates and some amino acids into glucose which gives energy to the body
- Works on the proteins to make them usable for the body
- Helps in the breakup of waste materials which is then passed out of the body through urine
- Processes alcohols and various medicines including antibiotics
- Processes certain hormones including the thyroid hormones and estrogen
- Contributes to the production of Vitamin D in the body
- Helps in the formation of cellular components of blood
Who is recommended for a liver function test?
People who experience the following symptoms or have lifestyle as mentioned below should consider getting a liver profile test done at regular intervals.
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Pain in the abdomen
- Weight loss
- Family history of liver disease
- Too much eating of junk food
- People taking regular medications for diseases like Parkinson’s
What are the tests included in the liver panel?
The following tests are included in the liver panel or hepatic panel.
1. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
AST is also called SGOT (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase). This test checks for any kind of liver damage. Generally, the levels of AST are lower than normal whereas the levels rise when the liver is damaged.
2. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
ALT is also known as SGPT (serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase). This enzyme is present in both the liver and kidney. Normally, the ALT levels are low but it increases with damage in the liver. This test is done to monitor or identify liver disease.
3. Alkaline phosphatase serum (ALP)
ALP measures the level of alkaline phosphatase enzyme in the bloodstream. Abnormal levels of ALP indicate the problems in the liver or gall bladder.
4. Bilirubin direct
Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment that occurs when part of the red blood cells break down. This test measures the amount of bilirubin in the blood and helps in finding the reasons behind anemia, jaundice and other liver diseases.
5. Bilirubin total
Bilirubin total also measures the amount of bilirubin in the blood and helps in finding out the proper functioning of the liver.
6. Total protein
The total protein test measures the amount of total protein in the bloodstream.
7. Albumin serum
Normal range of liver panel
The normal range of all the tests included in the liver function test is given below. This range may be slightly different between men, women, and children.
How is the liver function test performed?
A liver function test is a simple blood test. During this test, a lab technician or phlebotomist will cleanse your skin with an antiseptic and wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to make the veins visible and swell with blood. Then, he/she will draw a blood sample using a needle and cleans the injected area with a cotton ball to stop bleeding. The blood sample is collected in a test tube and then sent to the lab for analysis.
It takes less than 10 minutes to do this test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
The liver function test doesn’t require any special preparation. No fasting is required and you can carry on with your regular activities.
Are there any risks in the liver function test?
There are no possible risks or complications as the liver function test is a simple blood test. Sometimes you may feel dizziness, bruise or redness at the injected area. But these symptoms will go away quickly. If you experience abnormal bleeding in the injected area, inform your physician immediately.
What does the liver function test result mean?
Liver function test results indicate that there is a problem in the functioning of the liver and do not tell the exact liver condition or damage. So when the results are abnormal, your physician may prescribe you some medications and recommend follow-up tests like an ultrasound or a Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scan to know the exact stage of the liver infection. In the case of alcoholics, you will be asked to stop drinking.
The liver function test can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the liver function test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
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