Total Bilirubin Serum Lab Test

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Clinical Definition of Total Bilirubin Serum

When heme, a part of the haemoglobin, is broken down, bilirubin is produced. Bilirubin is a yellow coloured pigment, which is then processed by the liver for elimination from the body. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause an increased bilirubin presence in the blood.

A waste product, produced on the break-up of heme, the Bilirubin Total test is done to detect any increase of bilirubin in the blood, which helps in diagnosing liver diseases, liver damage, blockage of the bile duct, hemolytic anaemia, etc.

What is Bilirubin Lab Test?

The total bilirubin test is used to measure the amount of bilirubin in the blood of a person. By performing this test, we get to know how healthy our liver is and how actively the liver is working. This test is a part of a set of tests that are performed to understand the function of the liver. If the value of the bilirubin the blood is high, it may indicate the presence of a liver disease. When the liver is unable to get rid of bilirubin, the bilirubin gets collected in the body, and this will result in poor health of the person. High bilirubin causes damage to the body. Bilirubin analysis is important to understand the treatment a doctor can prescribe.

Why do I need Bilirubin Lab Test?

A total bilirubin serum lab test is prescribed by the doctor when a person has symptoms of liver disease or damage in the form of high bilirubin symptoms. The symptoms of liver damage are yellowness of skin or yellowness of eyes which implies jaundice, the experience of severe stomach ache, the colour of the urine that the person passes is dark in colour, chills and fevers, cold and flu-like symptoms. Also when there is a treatment of liver disease going on, to keep a regular check on the liver a total bilirubin serum lab test is prescribed by the doctor.

It is also observed that newborn children normally get jaundice. This kind of jaundice does not cause any problem in the child. Such babies are tested for bilirubin levels when they have jaundice as when there are high levels of serum bilirubin in the body of the child; there is a danger of the child to go deaf, become retarded or even have brain damage.

What effects bilirubin levels?

The amount of breakdown of red blood cells affects the bilirubin levels in the body.

What other tests might I have along with Bilirubin Lab Test?

If the results of the bilirubin values are too high in the bilirubin blood test, then the doctor may suggest an ultrasound to check for problems in the liver, gallbladder or bile ducts.

What do my test results mean?

What is considered high bilirubin levels in adults? The normal indirect value of bilirubin in an adult or teenager is 0–0.4 milligrams per deciliter. The normal direct value of total bilirubin is 0.3–1.0 mg/dL. These values tend to change from lab to lab.

In infants, the bilirubin test level is high due to birth stress. In newborn children, indirect bilirubin value is less than 5.2 mg/dL and increase a few days after the childbirth.

If the value of bilirubin is high in the total serum bilirubin test, it could mean that the person is suffering from liver diseases, cirrhosis, gallbladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, Gilbert's syndrome, stones in the gallbladder, biliary stricture, toxicity of the blood. In several cases, high bilirubin levels may also imply problems in the blood. The rapid break down of blood cells may be due to hemolytic anaemia or a transfusion reaction.

High serum bilirubin test value may also imply infant jaundice. In children, infant jaundice can be very dangerous. Physiological jaundice is caused 2-4 days after the birth of the child which may be due to the slow functioning of the liver. Breastfeeding jaundice is caused in a baby when it is not drinking mothers milk or if the mother is not able to produce sufficient quantities of milk. Breast milk jaundice is caused after 2-3 weeks post baby birth due to a few substances in the breast milk. Jaundice in an infant can be caused by the abnormal shape of the blood cell in the child, blood group mismatch of the mother and the child, infections etc. Bilirubin treatment is done as prescribed by the doctor. The doctor would be the best person to explain how to lower bilirubin.

How is Bilirubin Lab Test done?

This test is performed by extracting a small amount of blood from the patient. Blood is extracted from the patient through the procedure of venipuncture. A syringe with a needle is inserted into a vein at the cleaned skin of the arm and blood is collected in the syringe.

Does Bilirubin Lab Test pose any risk?

The only risks that this test possesses are those risks that come into picture when blood is drawn from the vein of the person. While extracting blood from the vein, there may be an experience of slight pain at the site of the puncture. Once the needle is removed from the puncture site, there may be a throbbing sensation. There were minor side effects of fainting, bruise, blood accumulation under the skin, excessive bleeding or in some cases even infection at the site of blood sample collection. But these are all minor side effects which take very little time to recover from.

What might affect my test results?

Any prescription medication or over the counter medication that the person consumes might affect the test results.

How do I prepare for the test?

To perform this test, the person should be on fasting for at least four hours wherein the person should not eat any food or drink any water before the test. Although you are allowed to have water before the test, and the patient can drink water even before going to the laboratory for the test. Also, it is advised that the person should stop taking medicines before the test is performed. The medication should be stopped only at the advice of a doctor. Certain medicines such as that to treat asthma, antibiotics interfere with the test results.

Understanding results of Total Bilirubin Serum

Reference RangeInterpretation
0 to 0.4 mg/dl (For Direct Bilirubin)Normal
0.2 to 1.2 mg/dl (For Total Bilirubin)Normal

References

  1. https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hw3474
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/labtests/bilirubinbloodtest.html
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bilirubin/about/pac-20393041
  4. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-bilirubin.html
  5. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/bilirubin