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Bilirubin Indirect


Bilirubin Indirect

What is this test?

An indirect bilirubin test measures the amount of bilirubin in the body. This test is done to check the functioning of your liver. Indirect bilirubin is also called as unconjugated bilirubin. In liver, the sugars get attached to unconjugated bilirubin and forms conjugated bilirubin. Indirect bilirubin test is a part of panel tests that measure liver function.

The liver makes bile which helps in the digestion of food and bile consists of bilirubin in it. Most of the bilirubin comes from breaking down of red blood cells during the normal body process. A healthy liver can flush out the bilirubin easily, but when your liver function is abnormal; there is a bilirubin build up in the body. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment which comes from the normal breakdown of red blood cells and passes through the liver and excreted from the body.

Usually, this test is done as a part of a group of tests to estimate how the liver is functioning. It may investigate jaundice which is also known as yellow fever caused due to elevated levels of bilirubin with symptoms such as yellowish skin and eyes, Other reasons for this test is to measure the functioning of the liver and to find out liver diseases such as hepatitis, detect destruction of red blood cells, find out the progress of a treatment, and estimate drug toxicity.

This test may be recommended to you if you experience symptoms such as stomach pain, dark urine, flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, yellowish skin and eyes, itchy skin, or fatigue, etc. This test may also be recommended to you if you are being treated for liver disease.

The normal test results may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc.

Total bilirubin is made of direct and indirect bilirubin. If total bilirubin levels are abnormal then there is a need to measure both direct and indirect bilirubin. The difference between total and direct bilirubin gives indirect bilirubin values. Higher levels of total bilirubin in blood show that liver is not clearing up bilirubin efficiently. Increased level of bilirubin in the blood is called jaundice. Jaundice can be due to different reasons like the rapid breakdown of red blood cells, blood disorder like erythroblastosis fetalis, red blood cell disorder like hemolytic anemia, blood transfusion reactions, gallbladder disorders, gallstones, cancer of the pancreas, liver problems such as liver cirrhosis, Gilbert’s disease, and hepatitis, etc.

Newborn babies usually have high levels of bilirubin as compared to adults. However, this is a normal reaction to the stress of birth and bilirubin levels usually stabilize over a few days. If the bilirubin levels for these babies continue to remain high or continue to increase, this may indicate jaundice or other liver problems.

Lower levels of bilirubin may be due to certain medications like phenobarbital, increased vitamin C levels, and theophylline, etc.

If you receive abnormal test results, you may consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may advise you appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests based on your test results.


Some medications may interfere with your test results such as a high dose of salicylates, phenobarbital, penicillin, etc. Hence, inform your doctor or technician about all your current medications and medical conditions prior to the test.

What is the preparation needed for doing this test?

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Bilirubin Indirect. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Bilirubin Indirect.

For this test, you may be recommended to fast prior to the test.

What are the normal values of results of this test?

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groups> 17 - 18mg/dl

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