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Liver diagnostics - Research and tests

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

As the largest gland of the digestive system, the liver performs multiple metabolic functions. Numerous processes of detoxification and storage of reserve substances take place in it. Without a doubt, the liver is one of the most important organs in the human body.


Fatty acids, phospholipids, cholesterol, vitamins A, D, B12 and iron are stored in the liver. This organ also has an immunological function - it plays a role in thermoregulation and the modification of endogenous hormones. In the cells that make up the liver - the hepatocytes - many metabolic changes of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and bilirubin take place. In short, the liver is a special organ that we need to take care of on a daily basis, as well as regularly perform examinations and tests.

When does the liver give warning signals?

Among the factors causing disorders and reducing the efficiency of the liver and gall bladder are:

  • Poor nutrition (fatty liver)

  • Metabolic diseases and cardiovascular diseases

  • Alcohol abuse or excessive use of certain medications

  • Food poisoning (herbs, toxins)

  • Infections (hepatotropic viruses)

  • Obstruction of the bile ducts

  • Tumour


Laboratory blood tests - for whom are they intended?

Tests are done as part of the diagnosis of liver damage and should be performed:

  • As routine health check-ups for people of all ages, recommended (at least for adults) every year

  • By people belonging to the group with increased risk of liver damage - suffering from obesity, diabetes and hyperlipidaemia

  • By people who abuse alcohol and patients chronically treated pharmacologically with potentially liver-damaging agents

  • In response to risk circumstances - people who have multiple sexual partners or people who frequently travel to developing countries

  • After transfusion of blood or blood products

  • Based on clinical symptoms of disease that may be caused by liver dysfunction

Tests used in the diagnosis of the liver profile include parameters that facilitate the initial differentiation of jaundice and the assessment of the depth of hepatocyte damage, as well as follow-up on the treatment or progression of liver and gallbladder diseases.


What tests are needed?


Basic examination:

The following tests (liver tests) are vital in the diagnosis of liver diseases:

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)

  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

  • Gamma glutamyl transferase (GGTP)

  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

  • Total bilirubin (BIL TOTAL)

Advanced diagnostics:

Biochemical indicators - enzymes, metabolites, proteins:

  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)

  • Cholinesterase

  • Glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH)

Infectious factors:

  • HBs antigen - fulfilled. Quantitative

  • HBs antibodies - performed. Quantitative

  • HCV antibodies - fulfilled. Quantitative

  • CMV (cytomegalovirus) IgG

  • CMV (cytomegalovirus) IgM

Tumour markers:

  • CEA

  • AFP

Immune factors (autoantibodies):

  • Antinuclear antibodies (ANA 1)

  • Antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA)

  • Anti-smooth muscle antibodies (ASMA)

  • Antibodies against kidney and liver microsomes (LKM)

Additional tests:

  • Proteinogram

  • Complete blood count (CBC)

  • PT (INR)

  • Biernacki test (OB)

As part of health prevention, tests to diagnose liver disease should be performed on a regular basis - once a year. If symptoms of liver damage, such as jaundice, appear, the condition of the liver should also be evaluated.

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