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Viral Hepatitis

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Alkaline phosphatase: Liver Function Test

for Veterans and the Public

Alkaline phosphatase

Alkaline phosphatase (often shortened to alk phos) is an enzyme made in liver cells and bile ducts. The alk phos level is a common test that is usually included when liver tests are performed as a group.

Explanation of test results:

A high alk phos level does not reflect liver damage or inflammation. A high alk phos level occurs when there is a blockage of flow in the biliary tract or a buildup of pressure in the liver--often caused by a gallstone or scarring in the bile ducts.

Other things to know:

  • Many patients with hepatitis C have normal alk phos levels.
  • Hepatitis C treatment usually does not affect alk phos levels.
  • Alk phos is produced in other organs besides the liver--it is also found in the bones and the kidneys.
  • If your alk phos level is high, your doctor will probably order additional tests to determine why.