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A bilirubin test is usually done to diagnose or monitor any liver disease.

When it's done:

A bilirubin test is often done in people who:

  • Show symptoms of jaundice
  • Have a history of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Have symptoms suggestive of drug toxicity
  • Have had exposure to the hepatitis virus
  • Have symptoms such as anaemia, nausea or vomiting, dark coloured urine and/or abdominal pain or swelling

This test is used as a standard medical practice to determine bilirubin levels in newborn babies suffering from jaundice.

When to Avoid:

If you are taking some drugs that affect bilirubin levels, you should inform the doctor before the test.

How to prepare:

In adults, a blood sample is obtainedby injecting a needle into a vein in the arm In newborn babies, blood is collected using a heel stick that uses a small sharp blade to cut the skin on the baby’s heel and collect a few drops of blood in a small tube You may be required to fast for a few hours before the test is performed, although fasting requirements may be different in different laboratories


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