Medical Surgical Labs Liver Labs #3

Question

A client comes into the ER with right upper abdomen pain. The nurse notices multiple scratch marks on the arms and torso and the client reports itching; however there is no noticeable rash. Allergic reaction has been ruled out. Which lab studies may be ordered to help diagnose the client?

Answers

  1. ALT & AST
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because ALT & AST are part of the liver function panel. ALT & AST are liver enzymes and an elevation of these may indicate a problem with the liver. Testing these enzymes would be an appropriate action due to the client’s symptoms of right upper abdomen pain and itching.

  2. BUN & creatinine
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because these labs are used to evaluate renal function. The client’s symptoms point to a problem with the liver, not the kidneys.

  3. Hemoglobin & hematocrit
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because they are not the best indicator of a problem with the liver. Hemoglobin and hematocrit are used to detect the amount of red blood cells and are usually checked due to a suspicion of anemia.

  4. Amylase & lipase
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because amylase and lipase are pancreatic enzymes. These are checked to search for problems with the pancreas.

Overview

ALT & AST are part of liver function tests. The liver is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and is responsible for filtering toxins from the body.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

The liver is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and is responsible for filtering toxins from the body. With build up of toxins, itching may occur. ALT & AST are part of liver panel tests. ALT & AST are liver enzymes and an elevation of these may indicate a problem with the liver. BUN & creatinine evaluate renal function. Hemoglobin and hematocrit are used to detect the amount of red blood cells in the body. Amylase and lipase are pancreatic enzymes.

Test Taking Tip

ALT & AST are typically seen together in lab studies. Just think “liver” when you read the “L” in ALT.

Video Rationale