St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    AST

    Aspartate aminotransferase; Serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase; SGOT

    AST (aspartate aminotransferase) is an enzyme found in high amounts in liver, heart,and muscle cells. It is also found in lesser amounts in other tissues.

    This article discusses the test to measure the amount of AST in the blood.

    How the Test is Performed

    A blood sample is needed. It is usually taken from a vein. This is called a venipuncture .

    How the Test Will Feel

    When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is mainly done along with other tests (such as ALT, ALP, and bilirubin) to diagnose and monitor liver disease.

    Normal Results

    The normal range is 10 to 34 IU/L.

    Note: IU/L = international units per liter

    Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

    The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Increased AST levels are usually a sign of liver disease. Liver disease is even more likely if other liver-related blood tests are abnormal.

    An increase in AST levels may be due to:

    • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
    • Death of liver tissue
    • Heart attack
    • Hemochromatosis
    • Hepatitis
    • Lack of blood flow to the liver (liver ischemia)
    • Liver cancer or tumor
    • Medicines that are toxic to the liver
    • Mononucleosis ("mono")
    • Muscle disease or trauma
    • Pancreatitis (swollen and inflamed pancreas)

    AST levels may also increase after:

    • Burns (deep)
    • Heart procedures
    • Seizure
    • Surgery

    Risks

    Veins vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

    Risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

    • Bleeding from where the needle was inserted
    • Fainting or feeling light-headed
    • Hematoma (blood collecting under the skin)
    • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

    Considerations

    AST levels may rise during pregnancy and after exercise.

    References

    Berk P, Korenblat K. Approach to the patient with jaundice or abnormal liver tests. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 149.

    Pratt DS. Liver chemistry and function tests. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 73.

    BACK TO TOP

          Tests for AST

          Review Date: 1/21/2013

          Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          History
          Mission
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs
          Assessment

          Newsroom
          Services
          Brain & Spine
          Cancer
          Heart
          Maternity
          Orthopedics
          Pulmonary
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          mystlukes
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Volunteer
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          Careers
          Careers
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile