AST (Aspartate Aminotransferase) Test

Aspartate transferase (AST) is an enzyme that is found in the liver, heart, pancreas, muscles, and other tissues in your body. AST blood test is often tested in a liver panel or comprehensive metabolic panel, and healthcare providers most often use it to assess your liver health.

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What is the Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test? 

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), also called SGOT, helps to determine the functioning of the liver by analysing the levels of aspartate aminotransferase in the blood. The constant increase in SGOT values can cause chronic liver disease. The SGOT test analyses one of two liver enzymes called serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase. SGOT is also called aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and it is found in the liver and heart.

What are the other names for the Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test? 

The other names are SGOT, AST, Serum SGOT, Serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase.

What are the test parameters included in the Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

There is only one parameter: Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST).

 

What does an Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test measure? 

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme that is found in almost all of the body's cells, but mainly in the heart and liver. This is also present in the kidneys and muscles, but in smaller amounts. Normally, the levels of AST are low, but in certain cases, the levels rise when there is an injury to cells of the liver or muscles. 

 

The main function of the liver is to process the nutrients in the body. It also produces bile juice, or acid, which helps in digesting the fats along with the production of other important proteins such as blood clotting factors and albumin. The liver eventually breaks the potentially toxic substances into harmless products that can be used or eliminated by the body. 

 

The increase in the levels of AST can be due to conditions causing liver damage, such as hepatitis, drugs which are toxic to the liver, cirrhosis, or alcoholism. The AST test is not specific to the liver. Its levels may also rise in conditions that affect other parts of the body.

 

This test is done along with an alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test. Both the enzymes are found in the liver and their levels rise in the case of obstructive or liver damage. The ratio of AST/ALT helps in differentiating between the causes of liver damage in the event of injury to the heart or muscle. 

What’s the normal range of AST test? 

Female: 14–36 U/L

Male: 17–59 U/L

Who should get an Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test? 

The purpose of an AST blood test is to diagnose the damaged cells. If the cells in your liver are damaged, it can cause AST to leak into your bloodstream, so an AST blood test can help to find liver issues. While the healthcare provider will most often use the test to help assess liver health, the AST test can also provide valuable information on other medical conditions and cell damage elsewhere in your body.

The healthcare provider may also recommend a blood panel test that includes an AST test for you to help screen for, monitor, or help diagnose liver conditions and other medical conditions.

 

Screening

Screening means checking for potential health issues before you have experienced any symptoms. Your healthcare provider will likely order a screening with a liver profile blood test that includes an AST test if you may have any risk factors for liver disease, including:

  • Heavy alcohol use.

  • Family history of liver disease.

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Injecting drugs using shared needles

Since the AST tests are very often included in routine blood panel tests that will assess your general overall health conditions, such as a comprehensive metabolic panel, you can also get an AST test even if you don’t have any risk factors for liver disease.

 

Monitoring

If you have any liver condition, your healthcare provider might order an AST test, often as part of a panel, to check and monitor your condition to see if it is improving, worsening, or staying the same with or without treatment. Your healthcare provider may also have you do an AST test and a liver enzyme panel test to determine if you’re taking a medication that may affect your liver.

 

Diagnosing

Your healthcare provider might use an AST test for diagnostic purposes when you are experiencing any signs and symptoms of possible liver problems. While healthcare providers cannot diagnose a condition based solely on the AST levels, they can be an important part of the diagnostic process.

Signs and symptoms of liver conditions include:

  • nausea and/or vomiting.

  • belly (abdominal) pain.

  • Itchy skin

  • Jaundice (a yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes)

  • Tiredness (fatigue).

  • Appetite loss

Are preparations needed for the Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

Fasting is not required. There are no special preparations. You may inform the doctor about the medicines. He may advise you to stop and wait until the test is done.

What is the cost of a Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

What is the type of sample required for AST test? 

This test requires a blood sample.

Who performs an Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually performs blood draws, including those for Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) tests, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. The samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually.

 

What should I expect during my Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

You can expect to experience the following during the blood test or a blood draw:

  • You will have to sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. It is the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.

  • Once they have located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.

  • Then they will insert a small needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. This might feel like a small pinch.

  • After they insert the needle, the required amount of blood will be collected in a test tube.

  • When they have collected enough blood for the test, they’ll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop any bleeding.

  • They will put a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.

This process takes less than five minutes.

 

What should I expect after my Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

Once the healthcare provider has collected the blood sample, it will be sent to the laboratory for processing or testing. When the results are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.

What are the risks of an Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test?

These blood tests are very common and don’t carry any significant risks. You may have a  slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise may develop there.

When can I expect my Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test results?

These reports are available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours of the collection of the blood sample.

What do the results of an Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test mean? 

Interpreting test results

The AST levels are usually listed on the test report in units per liter (U/L) or international units per liter (IU/L). Next to the level found in your blood, the test report should list the laboratory’s reference range next to the level found in the blood.

It is very important to look closely at the range for the specific lab that analysed the sample because there is no universal reference range for AST. The ranges can vary from lab to lab because not all labs use the same methods and because studies have not demonstrated a permanent healthy range.

In addition, there will be no AST level that is normal for all people. Instead, the AST levels can change depending on your age, sex, and other factors that your doctor can consider when interpreting your test results.

To understand the significance of the results, your doctor often looks not only at the AST but also at the levels of other enzymes that are included in a liver profile test. The patterns in which the enzymes are normal or abnormal can offer meaningful clues about the underlying problem.

These AST levels in the blood can rise when cells are damaged. Elevated AST can reflect health conditions like cirrhosis or hepatitis. To try to evaluate the cause of an abnormal result, the doctor may consider how high the AST level is and how it compares to the levels of other liver enzymes.

Higher levels of AST often reflect short-term liver damage, while smaller but persistent elevations in AST over time can be tied to chronic conditions. However, because the AST enzymes are found in other parts of the body, they can be elevated in the blood as a result of cell damage outside the liver.

Because of the complexity and interpretation of the AST levels, including their relationship to other measurements on panel tests, you should always discuss your test results with a doctor who will be able to explain what the test means and how it reflects your overall health.

What are normal Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test results?

Female: 14–36 U/L

Male: 17–59 U/L

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or may test different samples. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Liver Function Tests, HBsAg.

How do I book an Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test at home?

Log on to www.orangehealth.in and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.

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