Synonyms: AST (Aspartate Aminotransferase), Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase (SGOT), SGOT (Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase)

NOTICE: This test is a component of the Comprehensive Metabolic panel which may be more economic than ording this test alone.

Why It Is Done

Identify liver disease, especially cirrhosis and hepatitis caused by alcohol, drugs, or viruses. Help check for liver damage. Find out whether jaundice was caused by a blood disorder or liver disease. Keep track of the effects of cholesterol-lowering and other medications that can damage the liver.

Test Overview

An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood. AST is normally found in red blood cells, liver, heart, muscle tissue, pancreas, and kidneys. When body tissue or an organ such as the heart or liver is diseased or damaged, additional AST is released into the bloodstream. The amount of AST in the blood is directly related to the extent of the tissue damage.

The AST test may be done at the same time as a test for alanine aminotransferase, or ALT. The ratio of AST to ALT sometimes can help determine whether the liver or another organ has been damaged. Both ALT and AST levels can test for liver damage.

How To Prepare

Avoid strenuous exercise just before having this test done.