Elevated liver enzymes may indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells leak higher than normal amounts of certain chemicals, including liver enzymes, into the bloodstream, which can result in elevated liver enzymes on blood tests.
The specific elevated liver enzymes most commonly found are:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST)
Elevated liver enzymes may be discovered during routine blood testing. In most cases, liver enzyme levels are only mildly and temporarily elevated. Most of the time, elevated liver enzymes don't signal a chronic, serious liver problem.
May 05, 2015
- Winter WE. The liver and biliary tract. In: Laboratory Medicine: The Diagnosis of Disease in the Clinical Laboratory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 15, 2015.
- Friedman LS. Approach to the patient with abnormal liver and biochemical function tests. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 15, 2015.
- Lee TH, et al. Evaluation of elevated liver enzymes. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2012;16:183.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 21, 2015.