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Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease

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Alkaline phosphatase: Liver Function Test

for Veterans and the Public

Alkaline phosphatase - Hepatitis C for Patients

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 provider will probably order additional tests to determine why.