Bilirubin (direct)

Bilirubin is checked when testing for jaundice. It is also ordered to assess liver and gallbladder problems.

Bilirubin (direct) Overview

Reviewed: April 21, 2014

Bilirubin is a byproduct of the normal metabolism of red blood cells. As red blood cells become older, many are recycled by enzymes in the spleen. Bilirubin is usually passed from the body in the stool and urine and gives both their distinctive colors. Direct bilirubin is a measurement of the bilirubin that is bound to certain other molecules that make it more dissolvable in water.

Billirubin levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

The normal value of billirubin is less than 0.2mg/dL


Blood draw


Fasting 4-8 hours before the test is required.

Water intake is allowed.

What the results mean

Higher than normal levels of bilirubin can signal certain serious problems with the liver, gallbladder, and other organs. Additionally, rising bilirubin levels can be a sign of diseases that destroy blood cells or affect the metabolism. Total and direct bilirubin values can be used to identify a cause when compared together.