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Apartate Aminotransferase, Serum Glutamic-Oxaloacetic Transaminase, SGOT, GOT, Aspartate Transaminase


Aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) is an enzyme (protein) found in several body tissues, particularly the liver and muscles, including the heart muscle. The AST test is mainly used to diagnose and monitor liver disease.

A low AST level has no clinical significance. An abnormally high level indicates that the liver cells or muscles are damaged and releasing their contents into the bloodstream. High AST levels (350 units per litre (U/L) or more) are usually caused by acute viral hepatitis. These high levels generally go back to normal within 1 to 2 months, or in exceptional cases within 3 to 6 months. Extremely high AST levels (often 3,000 U/L or more) indicate toxic impairment of the liver by a drug or poison, or a condition that decreases blood flow through the liver, destroying cells (ischemia). Moderately high AST level (less than 4 times the normal) are found in most other liver diseases (chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, bile duct obstruction, liver cancer, and so on).

AST levels can also be high in the case of muscular diseases and for a few days after a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.