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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What does a total bilirubin level of 1.8 indicate?

Answered by
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15703 Questions

Posted on Sat, 4 Mar 2017 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Question: A recent blood test showed a total bilirubin level of 1.8 mg/dl while alkaline phosphatase was 46 IU/L, Ast (Sgot) at 22 UL/L and Alt (Sgpt) at 25 UL/L. I have an appointment with my doc on Feb. 28 to follow up but I'm wondering if the statin I began taking a year ago at 10 mg (Atorvastatin) could be the cause of the elevated bilirubin. No other dietary changes, medicine, weight changes or exercise frequency have taken place over the past year.

I'm also planning a 4 day vacation starting tomorrow, followed by a weeklong business trip and I'm wondering if I should totally abstain from alcohol or if one to two drinks a couple of days each week is okay until I can follow up with my doctor.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 33 minutes later
Brief Answer:
statins affect liver enzyme levels (Ast, alt

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Statins would cause an increase in liver enzymes and would not affect the bilirubin levels only.

Bilirubin is formed from the break down of blood. There are increased levels if there is increased break down of blood or if there is an obstruction affecting its flow through the bile passages eg in the liver, pancreas or in some gallbladder diseases.
Abnormal function of the liver can also cause increased bilirubin but in that case, the liver enzymes would be higher.

The complete blood count would show if there is increased breakdown of blood because it would cause anemia (low hemoglobin).

Since it is a mild increase, if there is no change to the complete blood count , your doctor may consider monitoring unless there are any symptoms such as jaundice.
Monitoring is a valid option since the liver enzymes are normal
In terms of your trip, the normal liver function means that a limited number of drinks , like you mentioned, should be okay.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Thank you for the response. I had my gall bladder removed in 2010 and rarely have related issues with digestion. On Sunday I ate a few wings, some chips and a couple pieces of pizza and had four beers while watching the Super Bowl with friends. I only eat like this every few months and in the past since the gall bladder removal this hadn't been an issue since it was only one meal and wasn't at all spicy but I had stomach/intestinal pain most of the night which cleared up by Monday afternoon. This discomfort has only happened two or three times as a result of three or more spicy, rich, fatty meals in one day but Sunday wasn't nearly at that level.

Is it possible there's some blockage of a bile duct?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 8 hours later
Brief Answer:
possible but would be mild if present at all

Detailed Answer:

Sorry about the delayed reply

Fatty meals can definitely cause issues with persons with gallbladder disease but yours was removed.
It is possible that there are issues with the ducts but this may be mild, if present at all, since the increase in bilirubin is mild

Please feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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