The Mayo clinic says that liver enzyme and function tests are a type of blood test useful in diagnosing and tracking liver damage or disease by quantifying specific proteins and enzymes present in the blood. There are various types of liver enzyme and function tests: some measure the amount of enzymes liver cells release when diseased or damaged, while others measure how well the liver is performing its normal functions. However, it is important to note that abnormal results don’t always connote liver disease; doctors explain results on a case-by-case basis.
More specifically, liver tests may:
- Gauge how severe a disease is. For example, one type of test can measure the scarring of the liver due to cirrhosis.
- Track the potential side effects of medications.
- Screen for liver infections. One such infection that can be screened for using these blood tests is hepatitis.
- Monitor a disease’s progression and how successful its treatment plan is. This can be done for diseases like alcoholic or viral hepatitis.
To prep for a liver enzyme or function test, your doctor may ask you to avoid certain medications or foods that could interfere with your results. After your blood is drawn, it’ll be sent to a lab for analysis. You could get your results within a few hours if the lab is on-site, but it could take several days if the laboratory is off-site. Your liver test will likely measure different substances depending on your particular situation.
The risks associated with these tests are minimal, because they simply involve drawing blood. This is usually done from a vein in your arm, and side effects could include bruising or soreness in the area from which the blood was drawn.