Elmi Laboratories

Bile acids

Normal Reference Range

0 – 10 µmol/L

Test Information

After being secreted into the intestines from the gall bladder, bile acids act as surfactants, emulsifying lipids to facilitate absorption and digestion. Bile acids are created in the liver by the oxidation of cholesterol. In (obstetric) Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP), which affects 1:100 pregnancies in the UK and is more prevalent in twin or triplet pregnancies and is linked to early labour, bile acids often build up. Itch is used to identify ICP in cases where there is no other known reason (such as a skin condition).
• High levels of bile salts and/or liver enzymes in your blood that are unrelated to any other liver conditions. Pruritis, tiredness, and jaundice are signs of impaired bile salt secretion from the bile ducts caused by high levels of progesterone and oestrogen.

Clinical Indications

In the third trimester of pregnancy, there may be intense scratching (pruritis—especially on the hands and feet), depression, appetite loss, pale stools or dark urine, and weariness.

Sample Required

5mL serum sample blood tube is required for BHCG blood test

Min. sample volume


Special Instructions and Precautions

Not applicable

Time Limits For Retrospective Testing

2 days

Any factors affecting the test

Not applicable

Turnaround Time

4 hrs

Referral centre (if applicable)

Not applicable

Test Code


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