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What Is An AST (Aspartate Aminotransferase) Test?

An AST test evaluates the amount of aspartate transferase in your bloodstream. Your doctor will recommend this AST blood test to diagnose whether you have any liver problems or not. Through this test, you can get an idea of your overall health conditions also.

In case of any injury or disease, AST can leak into your bloodstream. As a result, high AST levels in your blood sample could be a sign of an underlying medical condition (mostly a liver disease). Your AST level may be elevated due to various types of liver conditions; thus healthcare providers don’t refer to this test alone. This test is an integral part of your liver enzyme panel (HFP) or a comprehensive metabolic panel.

ast test

The cost of the AST test is Rs.50 to Rs.150, depending on your location and place.

Please check the price of the AST test in Delhi/NCR, your nearby centers and other details.

Test Summary 

Also known as SGOT Test, Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase est, Aspartate Transaminase Test
Test Type Blood
AST test includes To check whether your liver is working properly or not
Preparation You may not need any special preparations.
Reporting Within 24 hours
Test price The cost of the AST test is Rs.50 to Rs.150, depending on your location and place.
Also included in Health Insurance Plans
Related tests ALT, CBC, ALP, Bilirubin


Why do you need this AST test?

You may need this test as a part of your routine healthcare checkup. If you are experiencing any symptoms of liver disease, then this test should be done at any cost. Some of the symptoms could be:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Feebleness
  • Jaundice where your skin and eyes turn yellow
  • Inflammation and pain in your abdomen
  • Swelling in your ankles and legs
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Frequent itching


Sometimes, your healthcare professional will suggest this AST blood test if you are at a higher risk of liver disease. Risk factors for the liver disease could be

  • A family history of liver disease
  • Unrestricted drinking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Taking certain medicines that could damage your liver

Read More : A Simple Guide To SGOT Blood Test

The Preparation for the AST Test

To perform this test, you may not need any special preparation. But several medications and supplements may hamper your AST levels, so consult your healthcare professional about any drugs or dietary supplements that you are consuming. Your doctor may ask you to stop the dosage of the medications before the test. But stop medications only if your doctor recommends them.

The AST Test Procedure

  • After reaching a lab or hospital, an experienced nurse or technician will check your arms to get easy access to your vein.
  • Once he has identified a vein, he will clean and disinfect the area with an antiseptic
  • He will insert a needle into your vein to collect your blood sample.
  • A small amount of blood will be collected in a test tube
  • Once the sample is collected, he will remove the needle and place a bandage over the site.
  • The entire procedure gets completed within five minutes.


The Interpretation of the Result

AST levels may vary from laboratory to laboratory. One common reference range for an AST blood test is 8 to 33 U/L (units per liter). Your AST level may change depending on multifarious factors, including

  • Your age
  • Your sex
  • Your race
  • Your weight


A high AST level may indicate you have the below-mentioned health conditions:

  • Alcohol-induced liver injury
  • Hepatitis or liver inflammation)
  • Cirrhosis or scarring of the liver)
  • Taking medications that may damage your liver
  • Liver tumor or liver cancer
  • Liver ischemia (your liver is not getting adequate blood flow which leads to death of liver tissue)


Your AST level may also be high due to other healthcare conditions


Sometimes, your AST level may elevate due to certain health conditions like

  • Intense burns
  • Seizure
  • Heart procedures
  • Surgery
  • Severe exercise


Pregnant women may also have higher levels of AST in their blood.


What are the risks of this test?

The risk is minimal as the blood is collected from the vein of a person. But veins are not the same for all. The size of veins may vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Thus, it could be difficult to take blood from some people. You may experience the following symptoms during the blood test.

1. Fainting
2. Lightheadedness
3. Severe bleeding
4. Several punctures to locate veins
5. Blood clotting under the skin
6. Local infection

How is aspartate transferase (AST) different from alanine transferase (ALT)?

Alanine transferase (ALT) is another liver enzyme that is primarily measured with AST under a liver panel test. When the cells are damaged, both enzymes can leak into your bloodstream. AST is found in more parts of your body than ALT. Thus, if your ALT level is higher, then this portrays that you have a higher chance of liver disease. A doctor usually checks the levels of both enzymes together while evaluating the conditions of your liver.

What level of AST indicates liver damage?

An AST/ALT ratio higher than one indicates you may have liver cirrhosis. An AST/ALT ratio higher than 2:1 indicates a sign of alcoholic liver disease.

Can AST levels return to normal?

If you have acute hepatitis, then your AST levels usually stay high for about 1-2 months. After that, it may return to the normal value within 3-6 months.

Does fatty liver cause elevated AST?

If you have NAFLD, then you have elevated ALT and AST, with a preserved ALT: AST ratio of 1.5, raised gamma glutamyl-transferase (GGT) and, occasionally, raised alkaline phosphatase (ALP).

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