Total bilirubin - blood; Unconjugated bilirubin - blood; Indirect bilirubin - blood; Conjugated bilirubin - blood; Direct bilirubin - blood
Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid made by the liver.
This article discusses the laboratory test that is done to measure bilirubin in the blood.
A small amount of older red blood cells are replaced by new blood cells every day. Bilirubin is left after these older blood cells are removed. The liver helps break down bilirubin so that it can be removed by the body in the stool.
See also: Bilirubin - urine
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture
You should not eat or drink for at least 4 hours before the test. Your health care provider may instruct you to stop taking drugs that affect the test.
Many drugs may change the bilirubin levels in your blood. Make sure your doctor knows which medications you are taking.
Large amounts of bilirubin in the blood can lead to jaundice. Jaundice is a yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes.
Jaundice is the most common reason to check bilirubin levels.
A bilirubin test will also be done if your doctor thinks you may have liver or gallbladder problems.
Berk PD, Korenblat KM. Approach to the patient with jaundice or abnormal liver test results. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 150.
Pratt DS. Liver chemistry and function tests. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 73.
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