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Liver Function Test for Children

At King’s, our doctors have extensive experience in the management of liver disorders in children and are skilled in assessing liver health based on liver function tests and other lab reports.

Pediatric Liver Function Test

Elevated levels of liver enzymes can be a warning sign of a liver disorder in children.

Liver diseases are considered silent conditions as they usually do not cause any evident symptoms. In most cases, the only symptom caused due to abnormal liver functions include extreme tiredness with mild pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.

Hence, it is important to assess their liver health regularly with the help of laboratory blood tests such as liver function tests.

What are the common indications for liver function tests in children?

The common indications for the liver function tests in children include:

  • A general feeling of being unwell
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes)
  • Swelling of hands and legs
  • Black stools
  • Bleeding for longer than usual
  • Easy bruising
  • Unusual rash

What are the common causes of abnormal liver function test results in children?

Liver enzymes are substances that are secreted in the liver to help speed up the digestion of food and metabolic processes.

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) are the 2 enzymes that hold high importance for the diagnosis of liver diseases in children. Other than these, enzymes such as gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and alkaline phosphatase (AP) also help to assess liver health in children.

The common conditions that can be detected with the help of liver function tests include:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Drug-induced liver injury
  • Viral infections caused due to hepatitis A, B, or C viruses, rhinovirus, or Epstein-Barr virus
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Diseases affecting the bile ducts like biliary atresia, bile duct blockage due to a gallstone, or choledochal cyst
  • Inherited conditions, like alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, or Wilson disease
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Obesity
  • Rapid weight loss

Treatment for the abnormal liver function test results in children

Liver enzyme levels may not be enough for the correct diagnosis of the underlying liver pathology. Your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine the cause.

Children with abnormal liver function tests are advised to follow healthy dietary habits and exercise regularly to maintain a normal weight. The treatment should also be focused on identifying and correcting the underlying pathology.

Recovery period

Patients may need a variable period of recovery after the treatment for diseases responsible for causing abnormal levels of liver enzymes. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits might help to support faster recovery.

Performing liver function tests can help in the diagnosis of the underlying liver pathologies and allow children to receive timely treatment aimed at preventing further progress of the condition.