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Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.

Special Considerations


This article may contain information on medical procedures that are not recommended or endorsed by Catholic Health Partners. Promotion of this topic is prohibited by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services. In the Ethical and Religious Directives, Catholic health institutions are prohibited from condoning contraceptive practices. Married couples should be given information about natural family planning as well as the church’s teachings on responsible parenthood. The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only. It is not provided as a professional service or as medical advice for specific patients.

ALP

Definition

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a protein found in all body tissues. Tissues with particularly high amounts of ALP include the liver, bile ducts, and bone.

A blood test can be done to measure the level of ALP.

See also: ALP isoenzyme test

Alternative Names

Alkaline phosphatase

How the test is performed

Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around your upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.

Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

How to prepare for the test

You should not to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the test, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

Many drugs affect the level of alkaline phosphatase in the blood. Your health care provider may tell you to stop taking certain drugs before the test. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.

  • Allopurinol
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Birth control pills
  • Certain arthritis drugs
  • Certain diabetes medicines
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Cortisone
  • Male hormones
  • Methyldopa
  • Narcotic pain medicines
  • Propranolol
  • Tranquilizers
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

How the test will feel

Why the test is performed

This test is done to diagnose liver or bone disease, or to see if treatments for those diseases are working. It may be included as part of a routine liver function test.

Normal Values

The normal range is 44 to 147 IU/L (international units per liter).

Normal values may vary slightly from laboratory to laboratory. They also can vary with age and gender. High levels of ALP are normally seen in children undergoing growth spurts and in pregnant women.

What abnormal results mean

Higher-than-normal ALP levels may be due to:

Lower-than-normal ALP levels (hypophosphatasemia) may be due to:

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:

What the risks are

Special considerations

References

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.

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    Review Date: 5/7/2009

    Review By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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