Liver Lab Clinical Guide

This clinical guide will help you interpret liver lab results with confidence. We’ll cover the most important tests for liver function, which to order based on the patient’s presentation, and what abnormal results can indicate. You’ll also learn to recognize key test result patterns for specific diagnoses. 

11 Articles | Guide last updated - 26th Jan 2021

How to analyze liver function and recognize common liver diseases

In this chapter’s articles, you will discover how to approach a patient who presents with suspected liver dysfunction. We’ll discuss common diseases associated with the liver and gallbladder, how to take a thorough history, and how to perform a physical exam on a patient with abnormal liver function. Finally, we’ll go through the liver lab tests you should order.


How to perform liver function testing

The liver has many important functions such as metabolizing molecules like bilirubin, synthesizing clotting factors, and producing important biomolecules like albumin and alkaline phosphatase. When liver function is compromised, any of these functions can be affected. In the articles of this chapter, you’ll discover which tests can be used to assess each specific function of the liver. As well, you’ll learn to recognize abnormal liver function test results. 

How to recognize patterns of abnormal liver function

Certain combinations of test results can point to specific causes of liver dysfunction. In this chapter’s articles, you’ll be introduced to hepatocellular and cholestatic patterns of liver function results, and the most likely diagnoses related to each type of pattern. You’ll also learn about isolated hyperbilirubinemia, how it shows up on liver test results, and what the test results suggest about the disease’s cause.