The test used for determining the levels of Alanine Aminotransferase in the blood is known as ALAT (alanine aminotransferase) test. â€œALATâ€ is the name given to an enzyme present in the blood and produced by the liver cells. An ALAT test is also noted as Serum Glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) test or alanine transaminase test which are associated with the liver.
The liver is the major gland of the body and does various necessary activities such as:
â— Producing proteins
â— Storage of iron and vitamins
â— Production of bile which helps in food digestion
â— Removal of toxins from the blood
There are some enzymes that help the liver in breaking off other proteins, so that the body can absorb them in an easy manner. ALAT is also one of those enzymes helping the liver in regulating metabolism which is the process of converting food into energy. This enzyme is usually found inside the liver cells. Even if the liver is inflamed or damaged, the ALAT enzyme can be secreted into the bloodstream. This makes the levels of serum ALAT to increase rapidly.
Determining the level of ALAT enzyme in blood is necessary as it helps the doctors to evaluate the functions of the liver and detecting the exact cause of a liver disorder. The ALAT test is an integral part of an initial screening for liver disorder.
Importance of Alat Test
In an ease to detect any failure or injury of the liver, ALAT test is performed. The doctor may recommend ALAT test if the patient shows signs and symptoms of liver disease such as:
â— Intermittent vomiting
â— Dark urine
â— Prolonged pain in the upper quadrant portion of the abdomen
â— Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes
Liver damage mainly shows a peak in ALAT levels. With the help of the ALAT test, levels of ALAT can be evaluated in the bloodstream. But it is not possible to know about the amount of liver damage, scarring and fibrosis with this test. An ALAT test should be performed with tests of some other liver enzymes to gather more information about condition.
An ALAT test is beneficial in:
â— Checking the progression of liver disorders like liver failure or hepatitis.
â— Determining if the treatment for liver disorder should be started or not.
â— Ensuring if the treatment is working or not.
How One Can Get Prepared For The Alat Test?
There is no special preparation required for undergoing the ALAT test. Only you need to inform your doctor about your medical history and list of medications you are consuming as some drugs can alter the levels of ALAT enzyme in the bloodstream. The doctor would advise you to prevent the intake of such medicines for a specific period or at the time of test if those drugs are not suitable.
How Alat Test Is Performed?
An ALAT is performed by taking a blood sample from the body of the patient:
1. An antiseptic cream is applied on the patientâ€™s skin to clean it from the area of inserting the needle.
2. After that an elastic band is tied around the area of the upper arm to stop the blood flow and increase the
visibility of veins in the arms.
3. After finding the vein, a needle is inserted to eject the blood and the blood is collected into the tube attached
at the needle end.
4. When the desired quantity of blood is collected, the elastic band gets removed and the needle is also pulled out
from the vein. Gauze or a piece of cotton is placed over the puncture site to stop bleeding.
5. The blood sample taken from the patientâ€™s body is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
6. After analysis of the sample, the report will be sent to the doctor.
7. After studying the report, the doctor fixes an appointment with the patient to start the treatment.
Results of Alat Test
The value of ALAT enzyme in males which is considered to be normal, ranges from 29 IU/L to 33 IU/L (units per liter) and for the females, the normal range of ALAT enzyme is 19 IU/L to 25 IU/L. But these normal values may slightly alter as per laboratory standards. Factors such as age and gender can also affect normal range. So, it is necessary to discuss your report with a doctor.
If the level of ALAT enzyme is more than normal, it indicates some damage to the liver. Increased value of ALAT may be due to:
â— Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas
â— Mononucleosis, an infection by Epstein-Barr virus
â— Hemochromatosis, a disorder that causes deposition of iron in the body
â— Poor flow of blood to the liver
â— Presence of tumor in the liver
â— Death of liver tissue
â— Liver cirrhosis
â— Hepatitis, an inflammatory liver condition
Low levels of ALAT enzyme indicate that the liver is healthy. Research shows that below levels of normal range is related to elevated prolonged mortality. Discuss your reports with the doctor if you have less than normal ALAT levels.
If the test reports indicate about the disorders, there is a need to do regular testing to observe the exact cause of the disorder and to find the best way to get rid of disease.
Risks Associated With Alat Test
Along with the benefits, there are also some complications noted in rare cases during or after some time of testing.
These complications include:
â— Bruising can be seen in the area of insertion of needles. This bruising can be avoided by applying the pressure
with the help of cotton on the puncture site for several minutes after the removal of the needle.
â— Excessive bleeding at the site if injecting may occur sometimes.
â— Hematoma, which is accumulation of blood under the skin.
â— Infection at the puncture site.
â— Lightheadedness or fainting at the area of the blood.
At end, we can conclude that ALAT test is very advantageous in checking the levels of ALAT enzyme in the blood. By performing this test, detection of any damage to the liver can be noticed and treatment of liver disease can be started accordingly.