Liver Function Tests: About Your Child's Tests

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What are they?

Liver function tests check to see how well your child's liver is working.

The tests may include:

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP).

This test measures the amount of the enzyme ALP in your child's blood.

Total serum protein and albumin.

It measures the amounts of two major groups of proteins in your child's blood (albumin and globulin). It also measures the total amount of protein. An albumin test measures albumin only.


It measures the amount of bilirubin in your child's blood.

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT).

These tests measure the amount of the enzymes AST and ALT in the blood. (Aminotransferase is also known as a transaminase.)

Why are these tests done?

Some liver function tests measure the amount of certain enzymes in the blood. This can help the doctor find out if your child's liver is damaged or inflamed. Other tests measure how well your child's liver can make important proteins or clear waste products from the body.

The doctor will use the test results to help look for certain conditions. These may include hepatitis or gallbladder problems. They may also include liver or bile duct problems that your child was born with.

Test results that are not normal don't always mean that there's a problem with the liver. The doctor can see if there is a problem based on the test results.

These tests also may be done to see how well a treatment for liver disease is working.

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.