Pediatric Liver Transplant Evaluation: Tests
Some blood tests help determine how well your child's liver is functioning:
Liver enzymes: Elevated liver enzyme levels alert physicians to liver damage because enzymes leak into the bloodstream when the liver is damaged.
The liver produces bilirubin
, which is excreted in the bile. Elevated bilirubin levels often indicate the liver's bile processing or flow are impaired.
Albumin: This protein is manufactured by the liver, and below-normal levels are associated with many chronic liver disorders.
Clotting studies, such as prothrombin time (PT or INR) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT): These tests measure the time it takes for blood to clot. Blood clotting requires vitamin K and proteins, which the liver makes. Liver cell damage and bile obstruction can both interfere with proper blood clotting.
Your child's blood type: Each person has a specific blood type (type A, B, AB or O). The donor liver ideally would be from a person of the same or compatible blood type.
Screening chemistry and blood counts: These tests are ordered to assess other organ function and to help direct any further testing that may be needed.
Viral titers: These tests determine if your child has antibodies to viruses that may cause complications after surgery.
An ultrasound is a safe, painless way to take pictures of the inside of the body, using high-frequency sound waves and a computer. Your child's doctor may order an abdominal ultrasound to get a closer look at the liver. Ultrasounds can be done on an outpatient basis.
If your child's ultrasound is scheduled at a CHOP facility, consult this page for instructions and more information.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: November 2012