LFT, short for Liver Function Test, is a comprehensive panel of blood tests that assess the health and functionality of the liver. It's a crucial diagnostic tool utilized by healthcare professionals to evaluate liver function, diagnose liver disorders, and monitor liver health over time. Understanding the reasons why an LFT is performed can be highly beneficial for individuals seeking clarity about this test.

Reasons for Conducting an LFT:

1. Liver Health Evaluation:

  • An LFT is commonly performed during routine health checkups to assess the overall health of the liver.
  • It helps detect abnormalities in liver function that may indicate underlying liver problems.

2. Diagnosis of Liver Diseases:

  • LFT plays a significant role in diagnosing various liver diseases, including:
    • Hepatitis A, B, and C
    • Cirrhosis
    • Fatty liver disease
    • Liver cancer

3. Monitoring Liver Health:

  • LFT is essential for monitoring the progression or treatment response of liver diseases.
  • It helps in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and making adjustments if necessary.

4. Pre-surgery or Pre-medication Evaluation:

  • An LFT is often performed before surgical procedures or the initiation of certain medications.
  • This is done to ensure that the liver is healthy enough to handle the stress of surgery or potential side effects of medications.

5. Investigation of Jaundice:

  • LFT is routinely conducted to investigate the cause of jaundice, a condition characterized by yellowing of the skin or eyes.

What Does an LFT Measure?

An LFT typically includes a panel of tests that assess various liver functions and markers. Some common tests included in an LFT are:

– Bilirubin: Measures the level of bilirubin, a pigment produced during the breakdown of red blood cells. High bilirubin levels can indicate liver or biliary tract problems.

– Alanine Transaminase (ALT) and Aspartate Transaminase (AST): These enzymes are found in liver cells. Elevated levels of ALT and AST can indicate liver damage or inflammation.

– Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): An enzyme found in the liver, bones, and bile ducts. High ALP levels may indicate liver or bone disorders.

– Albumin and Total Protein: These proteins are produced by the liver. Low levels may indicate liver dysfunction or malnutrition.

Interpreting LFT Results:

The reference ranges for LFT results vary slightly among laboratories. Generally, abnormal results may indicate liver problems, but it's crucial to consider the patient's history, symptoms, and other relevant factors for accurate interpretation. Follow-up tests or imaging studies may be recommended to confirm a diagnosis.

When to Get an LFT:

An LFT is typically ordered by a healthcare provider based on specific indications. Some common scenarios include:

– Routine health checkups: As part of regular health monitoring.

– Suspected liver disease: If signs or symptoms of liver problems are present, such as abdominal pain, fatigue, jaundice, or swelling in the legs or ankles.

– Monitoring liver health: For individuals with known liver diseases or those taking medications that may affect liver function.

– Pre-surgery or pre-medication evaluation: Before certain surgical procedures or the initiation of specific medications.


LFT is a valuable diagnostic tool that provides insight into liver health and function. By measuring various liver-specific markers, LFT helps healthcare professionals identify liver problems, monitor liver health over time, and guide appropriate treatment decisions. If you have any concerns about your liver health, discuss with your healthcare provider about the need for an LFT.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the signs and symptoms of liver disease?

    • Abdominal pain, fatigue, jaundice, swelling in the legs or ankles, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting.
  2. How often should I get an LFT?

    • The frequency of LFTs depends on individual circumstances and may vary. Consult your healthcare provider for guidance.
  3. Can LFT results be affected by other factors?

    • Yes, certain medications, alcohol consumption, and certain medical conditions can influence LFT results. Inform your healthcare provider about any relevant factors.
  4. What are some lifestyle changes that can improve liver health?

    • Maintain a healthy weight, consume a balanced diet, limit alcohol intake, avoid smoking, and engage in regular physical activity.
  5. What are the treatment options for liver diseases?

    • Treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the liver disease. Consult your healthcare provider for appropriate treatment guidance.



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