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Liver Screening

Elevated Liver Enzymes Screening

Alanine Aminotranferease (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) are enzymes located in liver cells that leak out into circulating blood when liver cells are injured.

ALT and AST are found in other cells in the body, but their concentration is highest in liver cells. ALT and AST are also found in heart, skeletal muscle, and red blood cells. Certain medications, such as those taken to lower cholesterol, can have a damaging effect on the liver. These enzymes are often monitored in patients who are taking these medications.

Screening for Elevated Liver Enzymes

The elevated liver enzymes screening is a simple way for you to learn if your ALT and AST liver enzyme levels are in the normal range or if they are elevated, suggesting possible liver damage. A few drops of blood will be taken from your finger and analyzed at the screening site.

Who should have a liver enzymes screening?

Those who take cholesterol-lowering medicationsIf you are on cholesterol-lowering medication, including statins, fibrates, bile-acid resins, absorption inhibitors or nicotinic acid/niacin, it's recommended that your liver enzyme levels be checked regularly. Statin medications work by blocking the liver enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol. A side effect of some statins is elevated liver enzymes, indicating liver injury.

How often should I get a liver enzymes screening?

People aged 45 and over should get screened every three years

*Recommended guidelines only. Consult with your physician.

How do I prepare for a liver enzymes screening?

There is nothing you need to do in advance for this screening

Liver enzymes are typically not included in routine blood testing. Ask your physician if he or she is specifically checking for elevated liver enzymes, or see if your laboratory report includes results for ALT and AST.

It is recommended that your liver enzymes be tested at least once a year or as frequently as your doctor advises.