LIVER FUNCTION TESTS

 

Introduction

* Not to memorize just now:

Bilirubin

Urine bilirubin and urobilinogen: Too insensitive for screening (Arch. Path. Lab. Med. 113: 73, 1989), and not particularly specific (but good enough to warrant an investigation if abnormal: South. Med. J. 81: 1229, 1988)

Alkaline phosphatase: a marker for poor bile flow

Transaminases: markers for hepatocyte integrity

Autoantibodies (Clin. Lab. Med. 12: 25, 1992)

Other tests:

* Future directions: In the next few years, watch for (1) better algorithms for the diagnosis of hemochromatosis, and a greater awareness of this entity by physicians and patients; (2) better tests for hepatitis C infection, and a clarification of the role of all the hepatitis viruses in "idiopathic" liver diseases; (3) identification of the target molecule and mechanism of injury in autoimmune hepatitis type I; (4) identification of the genes, molecular mechanisms and real pathogenesis in Wilson's, Gilbert's, and familial hemochromatosis. For your interest: Hepatitis C antigen and antibody in Science 244: 359 & 362, 1989. How it was found: Ann. Int. Med. 115: 644, 1991. Chronic hepatitis A: Liver 9: 223, 1989.