Lab Tests

Below is a list of the most common blood tests that doctors use to find out how well the liver works. The Children’s Liver Transplant team will check these lab tests during your child’s pre-transplant evaluation, and during and after his liver transplant.

Your child’s blood work may be normal, too high or too low. Some results that can occur with liver disease are listed in the chart below. Contact a member of our transplant team if you have any questions.

Blood Test                   

Change with Liver Disease

Albumin
Albumin is a protein in the blood that is made by the liver.

Low

Ammonia
Ammonia is made when proteins break down. Normally, the liver removes ammonia from the blood and turns the ammonia into waste (urea). Urea leaves the body through the urine.

Normal or High

Aspartate transaminase (AST)
AST is an enzyme found in the liver. An enzyme is a protein that helps the body make certain chemicals. When the liver is diseased or damaged, more AST is released into the bloodstream. 

High

Aminotransferase (ALT)
ALT is an enzyme that is measured to find out if the liver is damaged or diseased. An enzyme is a protein that helps the body make certain chemicals. When the liver is diseased, it releases ALT into the bloodstream.

High

Bilirubin
Bilirubin is made when red blood cells die. The liver repackages it into a usable form. It is then removed from the body by the liver in the form of bile.

High

Glutamyltransferase (GGTP)
GGTP is an enzyme mostly found in the bile ducts of the liver. An enzyme is a protein that helps the body make certain chemicals.

High

Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the body in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is low when iron in the blood is low. This is called anemia.

Low

Hematocrit
Hematocrit measures the number of red blood cells in the blood. A low hematocrit level can show anemia or blood loss.

Low

Prothrombin time (PT)
PT measures how long it takes your child’s blood to clot. The liver makes proteins (factors) that help blood to clot. When the liver fails, blood takes longer to clot.

Normal or High

International ratio (INR)
INR is the difference between the PT and the control used to calibrate the machine.

High

NOTE: Liver function tests include the ALT, AST, GGTP, Albumin and Bilirubin.