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Liver Function Test (LFT): Test List, Results, Pricing & FAQs

The liver plays a crucial role in the body, performing a multitude of vital functions. Any issues that arise with this essential organ can have significant and potentially severe impacts on our health. Most importantly, early symptoms of liver disease are not always obvious, so we must undergo regular Liver Function Test (LFT)to ensure liver health. What are the test items included in liver function tests? And how much do LFT cost?
Author Bowtie Team
Date 2023-06-28
Updated on 2023-06-28
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What is a liver function test?Consequences of abnormal liver function: Is it related to cirrhosis?List of liver function test itemsCompare liver function test pricingHow to improve liver functions?

What is a liver function test?

A liver function test is conducted through blood tests to measure the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, and bilirubin in the blood. This helps evaluate the function of the liver or bile ducts and detects liver infections, injuries, or inflammations.

Consequences of abnormal liver function: Is it related to cirrhosis?

The liver is responsible for producing proteins and breaking down toxins. Blood tests can detect changes in liver function. If the liver is damaged for an extended period, it can lead to increased fibrous tissue and hardening of the liver, which results in cirrhosis.

In the early stages of liver problems, most patients do not exhibit obvious clinical symptoms. Therefore, early detection and treatment are crucial. If a patient develops jaundice, ascites, esophageal varices, or hepatic encephalopathy, it indicates that the liver has lost its normal function, and the average mortality rate within two years is as high as 50%. Liver transplantation becomes an urgent need.

If you have the following habits or conditions, you should undergo regular liver function tests every year:

  • Liver diseases such as hepatitis B
  • Family history of liver disease
  • Diabetes, high blood pressure, or anemia
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Taking large amounts of certain medications

List of liver function test items

Liver function tests are a series of blood tests that primarily examine the following:

  1. Liver enzymes: mainly two types, aspartate aminotransferase (AST/SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT/SGPT). When the liver is damaged, enzymes in liver cells are released into the bloodstream. If both ALT and AST are elevated, it indicates liver inflammation and damage.

    The normal level of AST for adults is 8-48 U/L, and the normal level of ALT is 7-55 U/L.

  2. Bilirubin: a waste product produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. After being processed by the liver, it is excreted from the body through feces. A damaged liver cannot process bilirubin properly, leading to high levels of bilirubin in the blood, which can cause jaundice or hemolytic anemia.

    The normal level of bilirubin for adults is 0.1-1.2 mg/dL.

  3. Albumin: the main protein produced by the liver, which stabilizes the osmotic pressure between blood vessels and tissues and prevents fluids from leaking out of blood vessels. If liver function is impaired, albumin cannot be produced, and the level of albumin in the blood decreases, leading to edema.

    The normal level of albumin for adults is 3.5-5.0 g/dL.

  4. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): an enzyme found in bones, bile ducts, and the liver. The liver is responsible for producing bile, which is transported to the gallbladder via the bile ducts. If the ALP level is too high, it indicates problems with the production and transport of bile, which may lead to bile duct disease and abnormal bone metabolism.

    The normal level of ALP for adults is 120 U/L.

  5. Prothrombin time (PT): the time required for a blood sample to clot. The liver produces clotting proteins to help with coagulation. The fewer clotting proteins there are, the longer the coagulation time. This indicates impaired liver function that leads to a decrease in clotting protein production.

    The normal level of PT for adults is 11-13.5 seconds or INR 0.8-1.1.

Compare liver function test pricing

Private Hospital/Medical Group

Pricing (HK$)

Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital

Starting from $140 per item

(Test items include total and direct bilirubin, AST, ALT, ALP, albumin, etc.)

St. Paul’s Hospital

$470

Gleneagles Hospital

$690

Hong Kong Adventist Hospital

$555 – $940

(Test package includes total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, AST, ALT, ALP, GGTP, total protein, albumin, globulin, albumin/globulin ratio)

Canossa Hospital

$825

Matilda International Hospital

Starting from $190 per item

(Test items include AST, ALT, etc.)

Hong Kong Baptist Hospital

Starting from $170 per item

(Test items include AST, ALT, ALP, albumin, total bilirubin, etc.)

St. Teresa’s Hospital

$590

(Test items include total protein, albumin, albumin/globulin ratio, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, total bilirubin)

Evangel Hospital

$540

(Test items include albumin, alkaline phosphatase, AS, GGT, total protein, SGPT, total bilirubin)

Precious Blood Hospital (Caritas)

$590

Union Hospital

$520

Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Tsuen Wan

$683

MediFast

$600

(Test items include ALT, AST, gamma-glutamyltransferase, alkaline phosphatase, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, total protein, albumin, globulin, albumin/globulin ratio)

KPM Health

$350

(Test items include bilirubin, alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, total protein, albumin, globulin, albumin/globulin ratio, glutamyl transpeptidase)

MedDx

HK$280

(Test items include bilirubin, AST, ALT, ALP, total protein, albumin, globulin, albumin/globulin ratio, glutamyl transpeptidase)

  • *The above prices are sourced from respective official websites (updated as of July 5, 2020)

How to improve liver functions?

Improving liver function starts with daily diet and lifestyle changes to maintain liver health, including:

  1. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, as it can damage liver cells.
  2. Maintaining a balanced diet with ample intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to obtain various nutrients.
  3. Being mindful of fat intake and opting for healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, and fish. Limiting the consumption of red meat and dairy products high in saturated fats and avoiding processed foods containing trans fats.
  4. Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular exercise, as physical activity can enhance liver function and reduce the risk of fatty liver and liver cancer.
  5. Avoiding indiscriminate use of medications, as incorrect usage or mixing of medications can harm the liver.
  6. Avoiding smoking or exposure to harmful substances, as the chemicals in cigarettes or cleaning products can damage the liver.

Additionally, regular liver function tests can help detect any abnormalities in liver function and facilitate early detection and treatment.

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