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The AST test (formerly known as serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase, SGOT) measures the level of enzyme called aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the blood. AST is normally present in the cells of the liver, heart, and muscles but its levels are typically low in the blood. However, AST can be released into the blood after tissue injury and elevated AST levels are typically used as a marker for liver damage.
The AST test is a simple blood test collected via venipuncture. The results are reported as units per liter (U/L). Normal blood AST levels vary from 10 to 34 U/L.
Elevated AST levels in blood can result from:
- Liver damage or disease (such as hepatitis)
- Certain medications (such as acetaminophen and statins)
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Deep burns
Am I required to fast for this test?
No, you do not need to fast for this test. However, if you are concurrently having another test done that requires fasting, you need to fast for that test as indicated.
What are normal levels?
Normal blood AST levels often vary from 10 to 34 U/L.1 The normal values can vary depending on the laboratory. The exact range will be indicated on your report.
What are abnormal levels?
Increased AST levels in the blood usually indicate liver damage. Higher than normal levels may also be present after surgery, seizure or during pregnancy.
Why do I need it?
If you suffer from jaundice, hepatitis, or other signs of liver disease, you may consider having this test done. The test may also be done to as a part of a routine liver function test.
What type of doctor should I see if results are abnormal?
See your primary health care provider who may refer you to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist.