The determination of bile acids in serum is used for:
- Assessment of changes in liver function prior to the development of advanced clinical symptoms, such as jaundice
- Identification of hepatic impairment as a result of chemical and environmental impacts
- As an indicator of liver tissue improvement in patients with chronic hepatitis C responding to interferon treatment
- As an indicator of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy
Bile acids (bile acid, deoxycholic acid and chinodeoxycholic acid) are formed in the liver by cholesterol, mainly conjugated to glycine and taurine, stored and concentrated in the gall bladder and secreted in the intestine after ingestion. In the intestinal tract, bile acids serve to emulsify the fats absorbed, thereby aiding digestion. During the absorption phase, about 90% of bile acids are resorbed.
The efficacy of hepatic clearance of bile acids from the blood of the portal vein, keeps serum bile acids concentrations low in normal subjects. Increasing their levels due to hepatic impairment is a sensitive indicator of liver disease. After meals, serum bile acids levels rise slightly in normal individuals but increase significantly in patients with various liver diseases, including cirrhosis, hepatitis, cholestasis, portal vein thrombosis, of Budd-Chiari syndrome, cholangitis, Wilson's disease and hemochromatosis. No increase in bile acids was observed in patients with intestinal malabsorption. Metabolic hepatic disorders (eg Gilbert syndrome, Crigler-Najjar syndrome, Dubin-Johnson syndrome) do not cause abnormal bile acid concentrations.
Bile acid measurement assesses the enterohepatic cycle consisting of the biliary system, the intestine, the portal vein circulation, and the hepatocytes.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.