Abnormal Liver Function Tests - British Liver Trust

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Abnormal Liver Function Tests

Groundhog profile image

Hi all,

Having a meltdown. Had an awful 2015 following a bowel perforation. Long story. Just coming to terms with that when I had routine bloods prior to minor op. The Gamma GT as 120, the ALT was 41 ( range 0-33) and the ALP was 138 (range 30-130). My GP wants to see me next week but is not concerned. Previous liver functions have been ok but although ALP/ALT always slightly elevated. They hadn't done a Gamma GT before so have nothing to compare with.

You know what it's like, head now in downward spiral of anxiety. I am not on lots of meds but do take Paracetomol and I'm on fluoxetine 20mg. I do drink alcohol but not to excess - maximum 2 medium glasses wine but most nights. Googling is not helping and is making me worse. I still have ongoing bowel inflammation following the perforation but not sure if that affects liver. I had a CT last November for bowel and liver was fine.

Anyone have any experience please?

Thank you

28 Replies

Yes, I have had much higher numbers than yours for 6 years, had all the tests, MRI's scans and biopsy and no cause found. My gastro has come to the conclusion that it is related to the meds I take for ulcerative colitis.

Don't worry until you know you have something to worry about.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to bantam12

Thank you. Since the bowel perforation I'm a wreck. I'm not on any meds for my bowel disease but il try not to worry.

Your liver numbers are only elevated out of normal range by a tiny amount, and unless you have a previous history of liver damage or are on any long term treatment that might cause elevated enzymes, i doubt the doctors will be worried. More a case of 'abnormal but no action' kind of comment.

If the numbers were 2 or 3 times normal, thats when the alarm bells ring.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to Bolly

Thank you Bolly but the Gamma GT is isn't it as th range is up to 50 yet mine is 120. Google suggests this is usually the result of alcohol but I'm not a big drinker.

Last year when my bowel perforated I was on TPN for 3 months but liver tests came back to normal quickly and were ok all year. I do have a hole in my stomach following the perforation. I read somewhere that if you have bowel bugs leaking into your system, it can destroy the liver. I just get into a right state about everything these days. No indications of infection anywhere though, in my case a little knowledge is fatal.

Thanks for your response 🙂

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to Groundhog

Groundhog, these are my latest results

GGT 232 (range 15 - 40)

ALT 76 (range 7-55)

ALP 285 (range 35-104)

I never drink alcohol so that's not an issue, all tests 100% ok , my levels have been much higher but docs are not worried, I was told the only time they get really excited is when the numbers are in the very high 100s and into the 1000s.

As I said don't worry about it as your levels are only mildly over range, if scans or whatever they request come back ok then you will just be monitored now and again.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to bantam12

Thank yu Bantam 12 - was just a shock that's all after a year of worry. I need to put this to bed now or I will go Crazy.

Thanks again and I hope you keep well, best wishes.

We've had people on here with GGT in the 6, 7 8 and 900's. Not that a figure that high is recommended, lol! You are right to be concerned when numbers go up and there may be another reason for it being elevated apart from what alcohol you drink. You could try not drinking any alcohol for about 3 months and then get it tested again?

If you are drinking 2 glasses of wine a night, ie 14 a week, you are drinking 8 glasses of wine more a week than the latest recommended guidelines. Also if you suspect you have leaky gut, for some people the body breaks down alcohol into a particular chemical (cant remember its name im afraid) that is toxic to the gut and causes hangover type symptoms in the people whose gut does this chemical conversion. (It was on one of the Trust Me Im a Doctor programmes). So i would definitely suggest going totally tee total and then getting another GGT test in a 4-6 months.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to Bolly

Thanks you Bolly. I've tried find that episode but failed, never mind. My gastro consultant says there is no such thing as leaky gut! Oh I don't know anymore, seems the more we know, the worse it gets especially if like me you are a Worrywart. I would also have thought the othe liver tests would have been abnormal if there was a serious problem but they are ok I think

Total protein 79

Albumin 45

Total bilirubin 6

What do these figures mean?

Thank you for your patience with me. I know I need to get a life!

MisterX profile image
MisterX in reply to Groundhog

Those are very good numbers. It means that your liver is functioning really well - producing the globulin and albumin your need to function correctly. The bilirubin number is low which is also good news as it shows your liver is dealing well with the disposal of old blood cells.

I'd be really happy with those numbers.

Had a quick glance over the thread, can't really add to Bolly's (and others) excellent advice. Doesn't look like you have a liver issue yet. The CT scan should have picked up any significant scarring and there's no evidence of any damage to liver function.

If you're drinking wine every day that would explain your slightly high Gamma GT. When your liver is processing alcohol it's damaging some of the cells. Drinking at a low level is good. Drinking at any level on a consistent basis is bad as it doesn't allow the damaged cells time to recover. Liver cells are damaged as a matter of normal operations so it's nothing to worry about but take it easy.

Any special reason you're "on" paracetamol? You might want to run the necessity for it past your doctors as similarly to alcohol you want to reduce the strain on your liver.

Take a few days a week off the booze, otherwise let your doctors keep an eye on things for you. It's good you recognise the anxiety and that seems the biggest thing for you to deal with at the moment. Avoid the internet, it will panic you and it won't add to anything you've already read here. We've all read what the internet has to say about liver disease and had to filter it through reality. :)

Best regards.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to MisterX

Thank you Mister X for your helpful reply 😊 Glad to know you think some of my numbers are good, that made me happier.

I'm on Paracetomol for pain following a perforated bowel. Long story but I have bowel disease and had an ileostomy 30 years ago which has been fine. I then needed a hysterectomy last year and my bowel perforated, it's been the most awful time and I am left with holes in my stomach as I'm still not fully healed. So I take Paracetomol but not that many 2-3 a day but I supposed combined with alcohol, antidepressants and all the trauma I've had, my poor liver is objecting. Yu are right about anxiety - it's crippling me. No more googling,

So glad I found this and thank you again for all your replies, helped me through a tense anxious day.

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to MisterX

Hello Mister X. Good to find you posting again. You have been missed 😘

MisterX profile image
MisterX in reply to Bolly

Hello Bolly,

Very sweet of you. I decided to take Christmas off. We've only just taken the decorations down so I thought I'd better show my face :)


Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to MisterX

Good idea to have some time away from the forum MisterX. It can get too much. Nice to have some time not thinking about or writing about anything to do with liver disease!

You could of course leave the decorations up all year! My neigbours across the road have those pom pom things with outdoor lights that seem to come on - or glow - when it gets dark. Very festive all year round (or maybe they just cant work out how to remove them again.)

Groundhog, after a very quick Google it appears a side effect of Fluoxetine can be raised liver enzymes. You might want to do a bit more research on it but as with my meds if the benefits outway the negatives then best not to change anything.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to bantam12

Ah right ok that's interesting. My head is in the shed - I seem to get fixated.

Thank you again, I am grateful for your patience and understanding. My husband has given up on me I think! He likes a drink and I think he is scared of losing his drinking buddy, too late I'm afraid. As Bolly has pointed out I was drinking too much but then yiu read of alcoholics with normal liver function tests!!

Thank you again, I will google fluoxetine 😊

The important person in this scenario is you Groundhog, not other people. Saying 'but then you read of alcoholics with normal liver function tests' is a bit like when your child who wants the latest gadget or whatever says 'but she/he has one...' as if this makes it ok.

No matter what other people drink/do/or get away with, you are clearly worried about your liver function or you would not have sought out this forum,. It's in your power to do something about it, and an obvious thing that springs out is that you are currently drinking more than is recommended. So my suggestion is stop.

What is more important to your OH... a drinking buddy or a healthy wife?

The old episodes of Trust Me Im a Doctor may no longer be viewable, but some of the quotes are:

Here is one: "First up was Prof Tim Stockwell, director of the Centre for Addiction Research at the University of Victoria in Canada. He has advised several governments, including our own, on alcohol guidelines and thinks there are no biochemical benefits to drinking (though he concedes moderate drinking can be sociable, and beneficial in that way).

"There's 60 different ways at least that alcohol can make you unwell or kill you," he told me over a glass of water. "It's not just the obvious things like liver disease. A man drinking three to four units a day increases his risk of developing prostate cancer by 23%. Alcohol, at whatever level, raises a woman's risk of breast cancer. There'd be 10% fewer deaths from breast cancer worldwide if there was no drinking."

And this was the programme that mentioned the chemical that some people produce which means they dont process the toxins too well: bbc.co.uk/guides/zt8487h

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to Bolly

Thank you Bolly. I don't think I explained myself very well sorry. I was just trying to say there is no rhyme or reason to LFT levels. But you are right this is about me and yes I am worried because my state of mind isn't good.

I definitely need to cut down on the alcohol or cut out, preferably the latter. A locum GP started my panic in Friday saying she will do an ultrasound to rule out hepatitis. My mental health just plummeted .

Anyway thanks again for your help and advice, you have helped me today.

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to Groundhog

And Mister X's comment about paracetamol is also worth acting on. It's not good to take it day in day out. Does it actually work? Have you tried reducing and does your pain level go up? Does it keep you pain free. Have you discussed other pain relief options with your medics.

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to Bolly

Well the ironic thing is I was on ibuprofen but they stopped that because that's not good long term either. They put me on co codamol but I wasn't even taking the full whack although I was taking it every day, I do find they help but will just have to manage without them now and see how it goes.

Thank you :)

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to Groundhog

If Co codamol works at less than recommended dose, why not use that? The over the counter ones have 500mg paracetamol so,if you took less than the "full whack" of these your daily paracetamol intake would be well within relatively safe limits.,,with AIH we can take x3 rather than X 4 doses of paracetamol each day.


Elevated Liver numbers should always be investigated and monitored.

Bowel issues can cause Liver problems because bacteria can leak into the blood stream from the gut and start to stress the Liver. Your drinking of wine and the Paracetamol pills will have to go to for while I should think.

All mine were high and I don't even drink so mine was NAFLD. Now on 3 meds (one for high blood pressure which came 6 years after being on the other two - and maybe age, 47) so ramipril, atorvastatin and supralip. I get tested every 3-6 months depending on previous results (this has been going on 8 years) and my last ones have finally got me into just about normal range. So it is a long process, and I would say definitely stop drinking as your gamma GT is very high. Your doctor should be testing you regularly and start some medications before it does more damage. Good luck.

Thanks again for replies, there seems to be varying opinions about gamma GT. I spoke to a doctor friend last night who said not to worry as many things can cause it to elevate and it will then right itself. Problem is as well there is nithng to compare to as its the first time this has ever been tested, I have had slightly elevated alp and alt before but they never went the step further and did the gamma GT presumably because I have bowel disease which can elevate them too.

I do need a lifestyle change, lose some weight and no alcohol and just hope I can put this particular worry to bed.

Thanks again 😊

Hello - bit of an update. I went to my GP who has now sent me for blood tests for hepatitis and a liver screen?? Is this normal? I have been for these tests and have been told they will take 2 weeks to come back which will now add to my anxiety. They also did a ferritin test which came back as 109. Ultrasound has also been requested but this will take 6-8 weeks.

Trying not to worry but you know what it's like.

Thanks you

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to Groundhog

Yes its normal. A sort of elimination process for the GP, to look for reasons why your results are out of range and cross off the list the tests that come back negative.

Hello all - an update.

I went for ultrasound yesterday and it seems I have gallstones.  She said the liver looked OK with all bile ducts etc normal,  normal size of liver etc.  Pancreas normal.  No evidence of fatty liver.  I do feel she was holding something back though but I am a bit paranoid after a lifetime of doctors etc.  She said the gallstones were contained within the gallbladder and they would probably leave well alone.  I suspect the gall stones developed after me being in parental nutrition last year following a bowel perforation - it's a known complication .  Feel a bit peed off to be honest as that operation has wrecked my health I feel but I suppose I should be grateful I'm still here.

sukay profile image
sukay in reply to Groundhog

Hi.  Been reading through thee thread and just wanted to say, the only time my LFT numbers were raised is when I had gall bladder problems.  Good news on all the other scan results :)

Groundhog profile image
Groundhog in reply to sukay

Thanks Sukay.  Only my gamma GT was elevated and I'm not a massive drinker so it was a bit of a mystery,  not sure if high gamma GT is linked to gallstones but she said liver looks ok.  Have had LFTs repeated so we will have to see,  my  state of mind isn't helping,  very depressed so expect the worse.  Thank you for your response 🙂

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