Evaluation of abnormal liver tests in the adult asymptomatic patient

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Purpose of review

Liver blood tests, including bilirubin, aminotransferases, and alkaline phosphatase, are among the most commonly encountered tests in medicine. With roles including the investigation of symptoms, medication monitoring, assessment of chronic disease, and routine assessment, these tests serve many purposes and result in abnormality in up to 40% of patients.

Recent findings

The toll of liver disease continues to rise and abnormal liver tests offer an opportunity to identify hepatic disease early, when treatment is most effective and before patients suffer the potential downstream consequences of cirrhosis, portal hypertension, and hepatocellular carcinoma. By utilizing diagnostic strategies including detailed history gathering, alcohol use assessment, recognition of metabolic syndrome, and identifying patterns of liver test abnormalities, clinicians can develop a systematic approach to address abnormal liver tests. For these reasons, developing an evidence-based, systematic approach to handling abnormal liver tests is critically important.


This review seeks to synthesize key elements of the best evidence, presently available guidelines, and expert opinion in drafting a strategy to aid clinicians and patients in the timely and accurate diagnosis of liver disease for the adult asymptomatic patient with abnormal liver tests.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles