Total Bilirubin Test - part of the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

The bilirubin blood test measures the level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid made by the liver.

Bilirubin can also be measured with a urine test.

This test is part of Cardio-Med's physical exam.

Why the Test is Performed

A small amount of older red blood cells are replaced by new blood cells every day. Bilirubin is left after these older blood cells are removed. The liver helps break down bilirubin so that it can be removed from the body in the stool.

A high level of bilirubin in the blood can lead to jaundice. Jaundice is a yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes.

Jaundice is the most common reason to check bilirubin level. The test will likely be ordered when:

A bilirubin test is also ordered when the physician suspects a person has liver or gallbladder problems.

Normal Results

It is normal to have some bilirubin in the blood. A normal level is:

What Abnormal Results Mean

In newborns, the bilirubin level is higher for the first few days of life. Your child's physician must consider the following when deciding whether your baby's bilirubin level is too high:

Jaundice can also occur when more red blood cells than normal are broken down. This can be caused by:

The following liver problems may also cause jaundice or a high bilirubin level:

The following problems with gallbladder or bile ducts may cause higher bilirubin levels:


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Adapted from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

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