Laboratory abnormalities

Using lab tests to diagnose liver disease

Clinicochemical tests are of great value in the detection, differentiation and monitoring of liver diseases.Abnormal biochemical patterns in conjunction with the clinical picture may suggest particular liver diseases. When liver abnormality is suspected, a liver function test should be performed.1

Depending on the type, duration and intensity of the damage morphological changes might be inflammatory, degenerative, proliferative or necrotic. A clinicochemical pattern which deviates from the norm allows conclusions to be drawn about the nature and location of the liver damage.1

An overview of the clinical chemistry markers useful in the diagnosis of HE1

Liver cell damageCholestasisLiver functionMesenchymal activityImmunology/ Serology
pink-boxALTblue-boxAlkaline phosphataseblue-boxIndirect bilirubinγ-GlobulinAH-antibody (ab) HBs-antigen (ag)
pink-boxASTLAPpetrol-boxCholinestersaseIgAHBs-ab HBc-ab
pink-boxGLDHpink-boxγ-GTpetrol-boxQuick`s testIgGHBe-ag HBe-ab
pink-boxγ-GTpink-boxGLDHpetrol-boxAlbuminIgMHBV-DNA HCV-ab
pink-boxLDHpink-boxDirect bilirubinblue-boxBile acidCopperHDV ANA
blue-boxIron/Ferritinblue-boxBile acidFibrinogenProcollagen-III-peptideAMA SMA
Zincpink-boxCholesterolpetrol-boxAmmonia LMA LKM
 blue-boxCopperblue-boxIndocyanine green LE
 5´-nucleotidasepetrol-boxGalactose α1-Fetoprotein

pink-boxEnzymatic activity petrol-boxSynthesis capability blue-boxExcretory capability


1. Frederick RT. Current concepts in the pathophysiology and management of hepatic encephalopathy. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2011;7(4):222-33.