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.
If a liver function test reveals you have elevated liver enzymes, ask your doctor about what your test results might mean. Your doctor may suggest you undergo other tests and procedures to determine what's causing your elevated liver enzymes.
May 05, 2011
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=230100505-53. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Pratt DS. Liver chemistry and function tests. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 13, 2011.
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- Peterson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. April 14, 2011.