|Fasting or Non-fasting||Fasting. A short 4 hour fast is often recommended.|
|Turnaround Time for Results|
The bilirubin test measures the level of a yellowish pigment called bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is made during normal breakdown of red blood cells and is present in blood in unconjugated form (bound to albumin) or conjugated form (unbound). Conjugated bilirubin passes through the liver and is rapidly removed from the body with bile fluid. Elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood can indicate liver or gallbladder problem and the test is often done with other tests to assess liver function.
The bilirubin test is a simple blood test collected via venipuncture. The results can be reported as direct (conjugated), indirect (unconjugated) or total (combination of direct and indirect) bilirubin. Normal total blood bilirubin levels usually range between 0.3 and 1.9 mg/dL.
Higher than normal levels can result from:
- Liver problems (eg, hepatitis, cirrhosis)
- Certain blood disorders (eg, hemolytic anemia)
- Gilbert disease
- Gallbladder or bile duct disorders
Am I required to fast for this test?
A short fast is recommended. You should not drink or eat anything for at least 4 hours before the test.
What are normal levels?
Normal total bilirubin levels range between 0.3 and 1.9 mg/dL. Normal direct bilirubin level is generally between 0 and 0.3 mg/dL. The normal values can vary depending on the laboratory. The exact range will be indicated on your report.
What are abnormal levels?
Lower than normal blood bilirubin level is usually not a reason for concern. Elevated levels of direct (conjugated) bilirubin indicate that your body is not removing bilirubin properly and may suggest a liver damage. Elevated indirect (unconjugated) bilirubin levels are often caused by Gilbert disease or hemolysis.
Why do I need it?
If you suffer from jaundice, hepatitis, or other signs of liver disease, you may consider having this test done.
What type of doctor should I see if results are abnormal?
See your primary health care provider who may refer you to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist.