Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST / SGOT)
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme present mostly in the liver and the heart and in lesser amounts in muscles and kidneys. AST levels are generally low, but when the liver cells or muscle cells get damaged, the levels of AST show a sharp increase in the patient’s blood. Therefore, the AST test is used as a helpful marker to detect and monitor liver disease.
Why is the test performed?
An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test is ordered to detect liver damage and liver disease and to determine the presence of jaundice in the body. The test may also be ordered to monitor some medicines that are known to cause liver damage. The test is also useful in monitoring the effectiveness of treatment for liver disease.
When is the test ordered?
The test may be ordered to detect liver disease if a person has these signs and symptoms of liver disease:
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain or swelling.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
No special preparations are required for this test.