ALT liver function test at The London Clinic Liver Centre

The London Clinic through its Liver Centre provides access to the latest developments in the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease and performs private ALT Liver function tests.

Assessing liver health: ALT testing

ALT testing is a liver function test. It measures the level of alanine transaminase (ALT), an enzyme that is produced and used inside liver cells. If the liver is under stress, levels of ALT present in blood can start to rise. The test required involves taking only a tiny blood sample, and the results from The London Clinic’s diagnostics lab come back within hours.

ALT is an enzyme that is mostly produced by liver cells and therefore it is a good marker of liver disease. When ALT levels rise, it is usually a clear sign that the liver cells are showing signs of damage.

One of the biggest causes of raised ALT levels is fat in the liver, usually caused by drinking too much alcohol too frequently and/or eating a diet that is high in saturated fat. Raised ALT levels are an early sign of fatty liver disease. Viral hepatitis, side effects from prescription drugs and genetic or autoimmune conditions that affect the liver can also cause ALT levels to rise.

Why should I know my Serum ALT?

This is a simple and quick test and it can give a good indication if your liver is healthy, or it can indicate potential problems that need investigating further. The liver is unusual in that it can become extremely damaged without you noticing. Checking on your liver health with a simple ALT test can be life saving.

What does an ALT test involve?

A blood sample from a vein is required for the test. The blood is tested in the diagnostic laboratory at The London Clinic and the ALT level will be sent back to your consultant hepatologist, usually the same day.        

What causes ALT levels to rise?

  • Fatty liver disease: perhaps the most common cause in the UK, Europe, the USA and other affluent countries is fat accumulation within liver cells. Fat can accumulate anywhere in the body, but when this happens in the liver cells, it proves toxic. Anyone who is obese, has type 2 diabetes, or a raised cholesterol level may be at risk for having fat within the liver. 
  • Drinking too much alcohol: men who regularly drink more than the recommended 21 units of alcohol per week, women who drink in excess of 14 units per week, or people of both sexes who engage in regular binge drinking can risk damage to the liver cells.
  • Infection by chronic hepatitis viruses such as viral infections transmitted through blood and bodily fluids such as hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
  • Drug toxicity: even the common painkiller paracetamol can cause extensive liver damage when taken in quantities above the recommended dose. Other drugs can also have a toxic effect on the liver and your treatment will include regular monitoring of liver function.
  • Haemochromatosis: a genetic liver disease associated with an excess accumulation of iron in the liver.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis: this occurs when the body mounts an immune response to its own liver cells.

How often should I have my serum ALT measured?

If you are at particular risk of liver disease, either because of infection, underlying disease, or lifestyle factors, an ALT test done once a year could help monitor any changes in your liver health.

Treatment at The London Clinic

For more information about a private ALT Liver function test at The London Clinic click here and complete the enquiry form or call the Liver Centre on +44 (0) 020 7616 7719.

Click here for the main Liver Centre page