SGOT / AST (Aspartate Aminotransferase )

Clinical definition of the Aspartate Aminotransferase (SGOT) test
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme found in cells throughout the body but mostly in the heart and liver, and to a lesser extent in the kidneys and muscles.  In healthy individuals, levels of AST in the blood are low. When liver or muscle cells are injured, AST is released into the blood. AST test detects liver damage. The liver is a vital organ located in the upper right-hand side of the abdominal area. It is involved in many important functions in the body, it helps to process the body's nutrients, manufactures bile to help digest fats, produces many important proteins such as blood clotting factors, and breaks down potentially toxic substances into harmless ones that the body can use or excrete. A number of conditions cause injury to liver cells and hence an increase in AST levels. Aspartate Aminotransferase (SGOT) test is most useful in detecting liver damage due to hepatitis, drugs toxic to the liver, cirrhosis, and alcoholism

Why is the Aspartate Aminotransferase (SGOT) test done?
Aspartate Aminotransferase test (SGOT) is carried out to determine liver damage. It is often ordered in conjunction with another liver enzyme, alanine transferase (ALT), or as a part of a liver panel to screen for and/or help diagnose liver disorders.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT)  test is done?
Person who has signs and symptoms of a liver disorder. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal swelling and/or pain
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine, light colored stool
  • Itching (pruritus)

Persons who are at an increased risk for liver disease. Some examples include:

  • Persons who might have been exposed to hepatitis viruses
  • Those who are heavy drinkers
  • Persons who have a history of liver disease in their family
  • Persons taking drugs that can occasionally damage the liver
  • Persons who are overweight and/or have diabetes

What should I do before the aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *


(Blood Sample)


(Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm)

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

* Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) test results?

Reference Range*


5 to 34 U/L


Normally, levels of AST in the blood are low. Very high levels of AST (more than 10 times the highest normal level) are usually due to acute hepatitis, often due to a virus infection.  In acute hepatitis, AST levels usually stay high for about 1–2 months but can take as long as 3–6 months to return to normal. Levels of AST may also be markedly elevated as a result of exposure to drugs or other substances that are toxic to the liver as well as in conditions that cause decreased blood flow (ischemia) to the liver.

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) test

  • Alcoholic Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Acute hepatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatitis Viruses
  • Jaundice           

Other tests related to the Aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) test

  • ALT
  • ALP
  • GGT
  • Bilirubin
  • Liver panel
  • Albumin
  • Total Protein

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