Bilirubin testing is usually done as part of a group of tests to evaluate the health of your liver. Bilirubin testing may be done to:

  • Investigate jaundice — elevated levels of bilirubin can cause yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice). The most common use of the test is to measure bilirubin levels in newborns.
  • Determine whether there's a blockage in your liver's bile ducts
  • Help detect or monitor the progression of other liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Help detect increased destruction of red blood cells
  • Help follow how a treatment is working
  • Help evaluate suspected drug toxicity

Some common tests that might be done at the same time as bilirubin testing include:

  • Liver function tests. A group of blood tests that measure certain enzymes or proteins in your blood.
  • Albumin and total protein. Levels of albumin — a protein made by the liver — and total protein show how well your liver is making proteins that your body needs to fight infections and perform other functions.
  • Complete blood count. This test measures several components and features of your blood.
  • Prothrombin time. This test measures the clotting time of plasma.
Oct. 13, 2012