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Bile acids

Blood Sciences Test



Special Instructions

Only available in last trimester of preganancy



Reference Range

0- 10 umol/L

Test Usage

Total bile acids (TBA) are an aid to the diagnosis of obstetric cholestasis (OC) in woman with itching, in the absence of a rash during pregnancy (usually but not solely the third trimester). TBA are a sensitive but not specific marker for OC and may be abnormal before ALT elevation. The diagnosis is one of exclusion, as other causes of liver dysfunction, either specific to pregnancy or not, need to be also considered.

Elevated TBA usually confirms OC. There is no need for repeat testing once OC has been diagnosed, as treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid cross-reacts with the assay.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) guideline obstetric cholestasis (revised by RCOG January 2011).

View the RCOG link

Turnaround Time

1 day


Can be added on to an existing request up to 4 days following sample receipt.


Please note this test is not UKAS accredited

Specimen Labelling Procedure
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