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Bile Acid

Category Biochemistry
Test background

Bile acids are synthesised in the liver through oxidation of cholesterol and act as surfactants, emulsifying lipids to aid absorption and digestion following their secretion into the intestines from the gall bladder. Bile acids typically accumulate in (obstetric) intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and this increase may precede the derangement of routine liver function tests.

Clinical Indications

Profound itching (pruritis, especially in hands and feet) in pregnancy Previous history of obstetric cholestasis

Reference range
0-18 μmol/L in pregnancy only
0-10 μmol/L Male / non-pregnant female
No range < 10 yrs
Sample & container required SST (gold top) or Red top
Sample volume 0.5 mL
Turnaround time 1 day