Liver Function Tests: I thought I'd... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Liver Function Tests


I thought I'd share this. This is a comment that someone named Lisa, has spoken of on the recent Futurelearn Liver course:

"In France, alcohol is the major cause of liver disease. I just read an article suggesting that liver function be monitored to the same degree as cholesterol".

It should make for an interesting debate, but why can't we have this over here in the UK. I really think early diagnosis is so important, and would prove more cost effective on the NHS in the long run. I'l like to hear others view on this. This of course doesn't have to be about alcohol, but anyone who presents certain symptoms.

28 Replies

I definitely think the UK should run such tests as you say yourself,it could save lives an determine possibly other causes like mine for example toxicity of azaithioprine? They saw this was stunting into my liver according to the letters I received in 2012 but told me it was ok to still take them at full dose as it just meant they were not completely effective at getting me into remission so tried another drug that I was netropenic too .alas I was told just to stay on them for 3yrs in total until my organs failed due to bone marrow suppression. Had they of ran tests more extensively I THINK I may not be in 4th stage liver failure now Richard ,so yes it has to be a good thing we test like this here I reckon xx .Have a great day 😁😁


I live in France and of course my bloods always incl. LFTs. However I’m not sure this is standard. I’ve looked at hubbys latest results and he wasn’t tested. They did check kidney function however. In any case it seems a good idea to test as we all know that liver damage is silent until it’s bad.


It would seem to be an obvious way to deal with 'problem drinking' but a problem with blanket testing of liver function is the fact that many people will have 'normal' results yet still have alcoholic liver disease.

This could result in those tested and assessed as 'normal' having a false sense of security and not address their drinking issues.


sunnysmile in reply to LAJ123

I so agree. To me, liver testing seems pretty pointless done by blood taking. I have read so many people on forums who have liver disease - even cirrhosis - and their bloods came back under normal range. Bit scary really - lulls you into a false sense of security. Good points made though.

Faithfull in reply to sunnysmile

Thankgod I'm not only one who blood is fine .told truth how much I drunk and drugs I'm not proud of what I done .

Liver function red flags stopped the litre whisky a day 15yrs or more sober 3yrs to be under no illusion that my liver is not due to drink liver dr says I would be BASICALY stupid if a ultrasound not done in her hospital would have been on how much I drunk I feel like no wonder I'm getting confused not that confused I drink again is the dr insane

sunnysmile in reply to Faithfull

You have done so well. Coming out and being honest is the first step isn't it. Bet your body is thanking you for it, even though you are getting a little confused with it. I don't trust docs anyway. Mine seems to know nothing at all. When I came out so to speak 18 months ago, I was referred for counselling which I did not go to. Not my scene that. I asked her about TSM and having a medication to take the craving away as I had read up about it. She said she could not give me anything, was not allowed, but she had never heard of the methods I told her about - was totally blank. So I left - worried if I could do it myself. Withdrawals were/are my fear. She did not seem concerned (weird!) She would not think that if I were a member of her family. So I tapered from 20 units of wine a day to 2 which I still do. I feel totally different and 'here' now. I am aiming at a few nights with nothing - just a little nervous.

All we can do is keep at it.

The best to you all.


fluffylottie in reply to LAJ123

Exactly Jim. Last March i requested bloods for my liver due to 10 years of heavy drinking and the LFTs were normal, despite feeling run down etc. Come October i was admitted with decompensated liver which they say had been cirrhotic for years and i was given weeks to live! (Compensating now thankfully).

Charlotte x

Can you tell me whether they also did an ultrasound with your blood tests? Are some doctors relying on bloods alone, or did they miss this in imaging also?


When i requested they check, it was just the bloods which were fine so they just left it at that. I thought 'great!' Thinking all was well. It wasn't until i was admitted that they did the ultrasound, CT and MRI.

Charlotte x

Yes been in same situation

Faithfull in reply to LAJ123

Jim I ain't had drink 3yrs the hospital letter states that as in regards to her drink misuse and a ultrasound in another hospital suggesting cirrhosis I reassured her and back in GP care who then told me I have got it .someone saying to a recovering alcoholic and mental health could get back on it its joke and no one is laughing.this is our life's fearing the hospital not treating us .

Only this weekend in the Times, Dr Mark Porter in his regular piece wrote;

'While a normal result may be reassuring to someone who enjoys wine with their dinner, it doesn't mean that your liver is fine. There are plenty of patients with alcoholic liver disease and normal liver function tests'


Millie09 in reply to LAJ123

So very true jim..

When i was diagnosed in 2008, and a 6 week spell in hospital having drains done etc... i was discharged from hospital weighing only 6 stone nothing

After 2 years under care of gastroenterologist, i was discharged as my liver function tests had been good and steady. So i went round telling everyone that my liver was back to normal. No., i never picked up a drink untill my dad passed on 2012 but i didnt care at the time. The loss of my dad was just unbearable, i drank every day for 2 years thinking my liver could take it so to speak as my lfts had been good.. so very misleading for anyone to think a good liver test means all is good. I now have more knowledge than i did 10 yrs ago thankfully..


LAJ123 in reply to Millie09

Would be good if your story was seen by more, it might help others.


Millie09 in reply to LAJ123

Thank you jim. Very nice of you to say. I hope it does.


It may depend on the doctor or the facility they work with. I have a variety of drs and I notice some do a complete CBC and include Liver and kidney functions. To get all at one time is very inexpensive compared to most medical tests. While some docs only check your red, white and platelet count. I don't know why... it doesn't make much sense.

Faithfull in reply to redeyes2

No it don't no hospital in area all shit sending me to have hip surgery and leaving that to long like the insides of me I finding it harder to stay up I have to lay down constant.

redeyes2 in reply to Faithfull

Are you getting hip replacement? My brother just had that done. He is feeling better but has been off work for almost 3 months. He had hoped to go back after 4 weeks. Best wishes to you on yiur surgery.

Faithfull in reply to redeyes2

I'm pleased for your brother as I no the pain beforehand

I had it nearly two yrs ago but the hospital left me to long and I am putting next post up about the neglect so ur brother doing amazing tell him done rush please ,as I'm saying that in sitting wrong! What I meant was rush about

As the younger you have it the harder recovery if you push your luck. It's fantastic to not be in pain and I wish u all love health as poss and forgot I'm not young but not old I was to scared and to ill to push me luck

I live in the US and if they did a cat scan of your liver every couple of years like they do for your colon they could find problems much sooner in time for you to make life changes. By the time you start having symptoms it probably has gone on too long and may be too late to do much about it.

I had abnormal liver function tests for years and was told not to worry. I have never been a heavy drinker. I think the problem lies not only in testing but that GPs are unwilling or unable to take the results seriously. If I had been advised that this could progress into cirrhosis but that I could avoid this by addressing eating and exercise (again I have been overweight but not obese), then maybe I would not be in the predicament I am in now. Also can anyone tell me if your liver disease was not caused by alcohol why can you not enjoy an occasional glass of wine.

Febeli57 in reply to Katiesgran

I know how you feel they underestimate everything

Before I was diagnosed with stage 4 scirrosis, I had my liver bloods checked for 20 years because of taking high blood pressure tablets. When I queried a raised enzyme result, they said it’s not as bad as 4 years ago. I said what do you mean, why wasn’t I told. I’m so angry that they’d been telling me it was fine all that time. They concentrated on my type 2 diabetes. I could have changed everything and prevented stage 4. Don’t trust any doctors or medics now. If I hadn’t insisted on it being looked into, I wouldn’t even know now. Still angry.

Faithfull in reply to Julie8

I'm told I'm normal nothing dr ain't read the past tests and now me blood sugersky high I ain't diabetic daughter is my reading higher than hers the NHS don't care I have to many things serious but no help nothing

redeyes2 in reply to Julie8

I agree with all. Just like in every "business" some people will work hard to get the job done; while others are lazy. Some don't really care as long as they get their money. My brother has a great attitude he says it should be a pay for performance system, you cure someone you get paid, you make them worse... you don't get paid. Lawyers and car repair people get paid by what they improve not just for showing up. There should be much more accountability!

The tests for all that are suffering should be priority and also if you have had every test in another country all the cell path reports liver MRI with the metal sheet on top of u which the diagnosis was not read by the specialist .saying it's unlikely that my drinking beforehand has caused me to have any effect or me presume I have early cirrhosis .Thats why I no it's where you live what they do when you tell truth make an example as I complained disharged me.

I'm not sure but here in the states I have full CBC and CMP every 6 months. You just never know when you might catch something early enough to save your life. The one thing I'd like to see over here is a fibroscan become mandatory check the block test like a ECG, colonoscopy, ect. As many die from liver disease and never know it, NASH and NAFLD being major culprits.

Faithfull in reply to kurtymac

The sarcastic dr discharged me

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