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Liver Panel Test

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KEY POINTS

  • This blood test measures several different enzymes made by the liver. Enzymes are chemicals that help the cells of the body work.
  • The liver panel test helps check how well your child’s liver is working and to check for liver damage and disease. It can also check how well treatment is working.
  • Make sure your child follows your healthcare provider’s instructions about eating, drinking, and exercising before the test.

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What is the liver panel test?

This blood test measures several different enzymes made by the liver. Enzymes are chemicals that help the cells of your child’s body work.

In addition to liver enzymes, the test also measures:

  • Bilirubin, which is a substance formed from the breakdown of red blood cells. It moves through the blood to the liver and is then excreted from the body. High bilirubin levels turn the skin a yellow color called jaundice.
  • Albumin and other blood proteins, which are needed to build strong muscles and bones. If the liver has a problem, it may not be able to make proteins like it should. Albumin is one type of protein that the test measures.

This test is also called a liver function test.

Why is this test done?

This test is done to see how well your child’s liver is working and to check for liver damage and disease. The test is also helpful for checking how well treatments for certain diseases are working. The test may also be done to monitor possible side effects of certain medications.

How do I prepare my child for this test?

  • Your child’s healthcare provider will tell your child when to stop eating and drinking before the test. Food and drink before the test may affect the results.
  • A virus, such as stomach flu, can cause abnormal results. If your child has been ill in the past few days, let your child’s healthcare provider know. You may want to reschedule the test.
  • Your child may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your child’s healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that your child is taking. Ask your child’s provider before stopping any of your child’s regular medicines.
  • Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

Having this test will take just a few minutes. For young babies, the heel is pricked and a small amount of the blood is taken. For older children, a small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of your child’s test.

What do the test results mean?

The results of your child’s liver function test may not be normal if:

  • Your child is taking medicine that is causing liver problems.
  • Your child has an infection that is affecting your child’s liver, such as mononucleosis (mono) or hepatitis.
  • Your child was born with a disease that affects the liver such as cystic fibrosis or Wilson’s disease.
  • Your child has other diseases that may affect the liver such as Kawasaki’s disease.

This test for enzymes is most often done to look for liver problems, but the enzymes are made in other parts of the body as well. For example, one of the enzymes is also made by the bones. This means that sometimes abnormal results of this test may be caused by conditions or diseases in parts of the body other than the liver. Your child may need to have more blood tests to find out which part of the body the extra enzyme is coming from.

Results that are lower than normal are usually not a cause for concern.

What if my child’s test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history, physical exam, and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the results and ask questions, such as:

  • If your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2016.4 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-07-22
Last reviewed: 2015-07-22
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright © 2016 RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.
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