Information On Liver Test For Alanine Transaminase (ALT)

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 16, 2012

The liver is one of the most important organs of the human body. Unlike other primary organs like the heart and lungs, the liver performs several different tasks simultaneously in its various different lobes. The complicated nature of the liver makes it difficult to treat. A person with severe liver damage cannot survive unless there is a possibility of a liver transplant surgery being conducted. There are many different substances that are produced in the liver and introduced into the blood. This blood then circulates around the body. In order to check for the proper functioning of the liver, one needs to test the blood in a liver test known as the liver panel. The liver panel is the simplest and most common liver test used to make a preliminary diagnosis about the functioning of the liver. This test is conducted by collecting some blood from a vein in the upper forearm of an individual. The blood is then sent to a laboratory where it is tested for various different components.

One of the components in the blood is Alanine Transaminase. This is commonly abbreviated as ALT. A liver test for ALT is conducted in order to establish the health status of the liver. Alanine Transaminase is also known as Serum Glutamic Pyruvate Transaminase or SGPT. This enzyme is present in the cells of the liver. When a person suffers from liver damage, the cells of the liver tend to be destroyed. This obviously happens slowly and not all the cells are damaged. The detectable level of Alanine Aminotransferase increases substantially when there is a case of acute liver damage. This damage could be a result of a viral disease or because any form of toxin that has been ingested. The concentration of Alanine Transaminase in the blood is relevant when one wishes to diagnose the severity of liver damage. In a healthy person, a liver test for ALT will show a small amount of the enzyme in the blood. This is normal as long as the level is within the range that is considered as healthy. When there is liver damage, this level will rise in multiples of itself and not gradually. This is helpful when one wishes to diagnose liver problems.

After a test result shows elevated ALT levels, the doctor may recommend another liver test that uses an imaging device to look at the liver for any visible damage such as cirrhosis or any inflammation.

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