A liver profile (or liver panel) includes tests to detect, diagnose or monitor certain liver diseases such as hepatitis (acute or chronic inflammation of the liver) and/or damages caused by infection or toxins. These tests include elements (AST, ALT) that help determine whether liver cell membranes have been damaged and are releasing intracellular components. Other tests (bilirubin, ALP, GGT) will indicate if bile ducts* are obstructed or inflamed. The albumin level indicates if the liver’s important protein synthesis capacity is compromised. Other tests will be eventually needed to establish probable causes (hepatitis serology, abdominal ultrasound, liver biopsy, etc.).
ALT is the most sensitive marker in determining damage to the integrity of liver cells. A normal ALT level generally eliminates the possibility of liver disease. GGT is the most sensitive marker of even mild damage to bile ducts, although alcohol and numerous drugs may also be involved. ALP and bilirubin are more robust indicators of healthy biliary tract functioning, but other illnesses may also explain a high level of bilirubin (accelerated hemolysis of red blood cells, genetic defects) or ALP (bone disease, pregnancy).
*(small and large ducts that allow bile to flow from the liver cells to the small bowel through the gallbladder) Consult the information regarding each component of the profile.