Elevated Liver Enzymes

There are two enzymes typically found in the liver called aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). There enzymes are also sometimes called transaminases. An increase in your AST or ALT may be a sign that your liver is sick, inflamed or irritated.

How is Elevated Liver Enzymes diagnosed in children?

Many different diseases, toxins and medications can cause high liver enzymes. Your doctor will usually need to order more blood tests and sometimes imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to figure out why the liver enzymes are high. Other blood tests might be ordered to make sure the enzymes are coming from the liver. Sometimes these enzymes are high but coming from the muscle or red blood cells. If blood tests and imaging do not give an answer for the high liver enzymes, a liver biopsy (en Español), or sample of the liver with a needle, may be necessary to find an answer.

What is the treatment for Elevated Liver Enzymes?

If the doctor is concerned that a certain medication or being overweight is the cause of the high liver enzymes, you may be asked to stop a medication or try to lose weight before retesting the liver enzymes. Some causes of high liver enzymes require medication to control inflammation of the liver or to prevent damage to the liver from a genetic cause of liver disease. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and will be discussed once the doctor finds the reason for the high liver enzymes.

What is the long-term outlook of Elevated Liver Enzymes?

How patients with high liver enzymes do long term, or their prognosis, depends on what the underlying cause of the high liver enzymes is, how severe their symptoms are, how many complications they have, and whether or not they have other body systems affected (such as the kidneys). This will be discussed after the doctor finds the cause of the high liver enzymes.

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