Doctors Order LFT Blood Tests

Why Doctors Order LFT Blood Tests? Common Reasons & Indications

Health is the cornerstone of a vibrant life, meaning not only the absence of disease but the holistic well-being of body, mind, and spirit. It’s a dynamic balance, continuously shaped by the choices people make and the care they give themselves. That said, a Liver Function Test (LFT) is a critical diagnostic tool that healthcare professionals utilise to assess the health and functionality of the organ.

These tests are instrumental in diagnosing conditions, monitoring the effect of chronic diseases and medications on liver health, evaluating symptoms, and preparing for surgical procedures. This article delves into the significance of LFTs and the various reasons why doctors might order them.

Importance of LFT in Diagnosing Liver-Related Issues

The liver has a pivotal role in the body, performing functions such as protein synthesis, detoxification, and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion. Given its central role in maintaining physiological balance, evaluating its health through Function Tests is paramount.

LFTs measure levels of enzymes and proteins in the blood that are indicative of the organ’s health, helping diagnose diseases, assess the severity of damage, and monitor the progress of treatment.

Screening for Liver Diseases

Detecting Liver Diseases Such as Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, and Fatty Liver Disease

LFTs are crucial in the early detection of liver diseases, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease. Elevated or decreased levels of certain enzymes can indicate inflammation, damage, or failure of the organ. Early detection through LFTs enables timely intervention, potentially preventing the further progression of disease and reducing the risk of complications.

Monitoring Liver Function in Patients with Chronic Conditions Like Diabetes and Hypertension

Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are at a higher risk of developing diseases affecting this organ. Regular monitoring through LFTs can help detect any complications early on, allowing for adjustments in the management of these chronic diseases to mitigate further damage.

Monitoring Medication Effects

Assessing the Impact of Medications on Liver Health

Certain types of medications can have adverse effects on the liver, especially with long-term use or in high doses. LFTs are used to monitor the organ’s response to medication, ensuring that any negative impact on its health is identified promptly. This monitoring is essential for preventing medication-induced injury, which can range from mild enzyme elevations to severe liver failure.

Examples of Medications That May Require Monitoring Through LFTs

Medications such as statins (used for lowering cholesterol), antiviral drugs, antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to potentially affect liver function. Regular LFTs are recommended for patients on these medications to monitor the organ’s health and adjust dosages or change medications if necessary.

Evaluating Symptoms

Identifying the Cause of Symptoms Like Jaundice, Abdominal Pain, and Fatigue

Symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, and fatigue can be indicative of liver problems or other medical conditions. LFTs help in differentiating between liver-related causes and other potential causes for these symptoms, guiding further diagnostic and treatment strategies.

Additionally, these tests are vital in monitoring the progression or improvement of diagnosed conditions, enabling personalised treatment adjustments. The early identification of these symptoms and Liver Function test results can significantly improve patient outcomes by preventing further damage.

Using LFTs to Rule Out Liver Involvement in Systemic Diseases

Systemic diseases, such as heart failure and sepsis, can also affect the organ’s function. LFTs can help determine whether abnormalities are a result of these systemic diseases or if they indicate a primary liver condition. This differentiation is crucial for developing an appropriate treatment plan.

Furthermore, LFTs offer insights into the extent of the organ’s involvement in these diseases, which is essential for comprehensive patient management and ensuring that treatment plans address all aspects of the patient’s health, thereby optimising recovery and long-term health outcomes.

Pre-Surgical Evaluation

Assessing Liver Function Before Major Surgeries

Before undergoing major surgery, it is essential to ensure that the organ is functioning well enough to handle the stress of surgery and anaesthesia. LFTs are part of the pre-surgical evaluation process, providing valuable information about the organ’s capacity to metabolise medications and recover from surgical stress.

Ensuring the Patient’s Liver Can Handle Anesthesia and Surgical Stress

Anesthesia and the physical stress of surgery can be taxing on the organ, particularly if its function is already compromised. Pre-surgical LFTs help in assessing the risk of complications during and after surgery, allowing healthcare providers to take necessary precautions and plan for safer surgical outcomes.


The Liver Function Test is a vital component of modern medical practice, providing essential insights into the organ’s health and guiding clinical decision-making.

From diagnosing diseases to evaluating the impact of medications and preparing for surgery, LFTs play a crucial role in ensuring patient safety and effective treatment. Understanding the common reasons and indications for ordering LFTs emphasises the importance of these tests in maintaining overall health and well-being.