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Liver function and PKD
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I am new to this support group. I'm so glad that I stumbled upon it looking for information. My liver enzymes are elevated, and have been since a bout of shingles in the spring. My family doctor suggested I see a gastroenterologist, and I have an appointment on Tuesday. Does anyone else have elevated liver enzymes? I have no symptoms, and I feel just fine. Just looking for some info before my appointment on Tuesday.

Posted on 10/10/10, 06:51 pm
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Reminder: This is a support group for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). We trust you will do your best to remain positive and helpful. For more information, see our rules of the road.

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Reply #1 - 10/10/10  8:27pm
" Nancy,
Do you have PKD?

There are an infinite number of reasons why your liver enzymes may be elevated. A minor infection, a bout of hepatitis A (which is often masked as a really bad bout of the stomcah flu or food poisoning, but leaves no lasting damage after the fact like the Hep B and C), too much acetaminophen or most any medication (most all medications are processed through the liver) or even the presence of cysts in the kidneys and/or liver can affect some (not all) of the liver enzymes. As for a direct link to PKD, changes in liver enzymes is rare; about the only direct link is when there is a massive presence of liver and kidney cysts and then only one type of liver enzyme (I think AST becomes elevated, usually transiently).

That said, yes, I've had a bout of transient liver enzyme elevations (all) and with a cystic liver, a biopsy wasn't an option (nor did I want one without a lot more blood work to rule out every other possibility). So my doctor drew labs and in the interim, I was treated for some serious breathing problems by the urgent care clinic (I was in the Pentagon post 9/11 and all of the particles in the air combined with horrible seasonal alleries combined to make my breathing nearly impossible. The urgent care physician prescribed 5 days of prednisone, which just happened to resolve the liver enzyme issue as well as the breathing issues). Since them I've only had some transient increases in my AST, but I also have a liver bent on world domination, one body at a time, so my doctors are not concerned about this particular level being high (as it's a known increase when there are large number of cysts in the kidneys and liver).

Chances are excellent this is something transient and before anyone wants to do a biopsy insist on a full panel of lab work first (GI specialists love to do procedures first, give medications second; thankfully I was seen by a calm internist who wanted to go the conservative route and do more blood work first; he wasn't about to touch my liver, ever). Your GI doc will probably test you for various types of hepatitis, including autoimmunine hepatitis, a multitude of other diseases (especially if you've been out of the country recently) and based on the results, see where to go from there.

Good luck and please let us know how your appointment goes!
Best wishes,
Ruth "
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Reply #2 - 10/11/10  7:13am
" glad you handled this one Ruth, I hate to ignore(?) new members but don't have the answers you do, especially when it comes to livers - definitely one of your areas of expertise. "
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Reply #3 - 10/11/10  7:59am
" High liver enzymes means there is something hurting your liver. The liver is a very strong organ, and it regenerates itself. Everything you eat and drink could have an effect on it, but it is tough as a horse.
I had elevated liver enzymes many years ago. After an ultrasound which actually showed fat infiltration, , I was DX to have fatty liver. I lost about 20 pounds and the enzymes came down to normal. So hopefully, it could be something not serious at all. The possibilities of reasons for having high liver enzymes are endless.
Being said that, you should go to your doctor and have it checked out, just in case.
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Reply #4 - 10/11/10  1:01pm
" Nancy,
A couple of things I missed in my original post:

I hope your case of shingles has resolved and you have no lingering complications. I can only imagine how miserable the experience was! Are you still on any medication for any lingering side efffects or any antiviral medications? Antivirals in particular can cause an increase in your liver enzymes.

In addtion, an increase in your liver enzymes does NOT indicate liver failure; they indicate inflammation somewhere in your body or possibly even in your liver. The labs that indicate liver failure are entirely different, so from that perspective, you have nothing to worry about.

Good luck with your appointment tomorrow and please do let us know what the doctor says.

Gentle hugs,
Ruth "
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Reply #5 - 10/11/10  6:44pm
" Thanks to everyone who responded to my question about liver enzymes. I cannot tell you how happy I was to find all your posts. You have really set my heart and mind at rest, and I think I will be able to approach tomorrow's appointment more with my head than with my heart. Now I better finish filling in all the paperwork required for tomorrow. I'll let you know what happens.
Thanks again.

Nancy "
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Reply #6 - 10/11/10  7:38pm
" Best of luck tomorrow, Nancy. And welcome to the group. "

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