Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test measures the amount of this Reference enzyme Opens New Window in the blood. AST is normally found in Reference red blood cells Opens New Window, Reference liver Opens New Window, heart, muscle tissue, Reference pancreas Opens New Window, and kidneys. AST formerly was called serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT).
Low levels of AST are normally found in the blood. 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. After severe damage, AST levels rise in 6 to 10 hours and remain high for about 4 days.
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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 4, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology