TABLE OF CONTENTS
Nearly 4.5 million American adults are living with some type of liver disease.
Why you should get tested
You should get tested if you have any symptoms of liver disease or problems with your bile ducts.
Who should get tested?
Anyone with symptoms of liver disease or a history of liver disease should have the test.
When to get tested
Have the test done as soon as your doctor orders it. Early detection of liver disease gives you the best chance at treating it successfully.
You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for the GGT test. If you’re having other tests, you may need to fast for 10 to 12 hours before having your blood drawn. For example, the lipid panel requires fasting to ensure the most accurate result. The liver produces some of the proteins involved in clotting, so if your doctor ordered a prothrombin time along with your GGT test, you may also need to stop taking certain medications, including vitamin C supplements and blood thinners like heparin and aspirin.
To have the GGT test, you’ll need to provide a blood sample, which is usually taken from one of the veins in your arm or hand. When you’re ready, a technician will review your lab orders and ask you to verify your name. To draw the blood sample, the technician will examine your arm to determine which vein to use, scrub your skin with an alcohol pad to prevent germs from getting into your bloodstream, and insert a needle into the vein. Once the needle is in the vein, blood is drawn into a specimen tube. The tube may have an anticoagulant substance in it to prevent your blood sample from clotting before it’s processed by the laboratory.
Your GGT results should be ready within one or two days, although your doctor may not have a chance to contact you right away. If your GGT level is higher than normal, it may indicate a problem with your liver, pancreas, or bile ducts. It could also be elevated if you take any medications that are metabolized by the liver. Your doctor will review the result, compare it with your medical history and the results of other recent tests, and determine if you need immediate treatment or careful monitoring.
Your doctor may ask you to have your alkaline phosphatase (ALP) checked so that your ALP level can be compared with your GGT level. If both are high, you may have some type of liver damage. If your ALP is high, but your GGT is normal, then the elevated ALP could be caused by a bone disorder.