Reasons, Preparation, Procedure & Risks Associated With Aspartate Aminotransferase Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is an AST or Aspartate Aminotransferase Test?

This test is done to measure the enzyme level in the blood. Aspartate Aminotransferase is generally found in the kidneys, pancreas, muscle tissue, heart, liver, and blood cells. This test was previously known as serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase or SGOT.

Blood has low levels of Aspartate Aminotransferase. If the liver or heart or any other important organ gets damaged, then more of this enzyme is expelled into the blood stream. There will be high aspartate aminotransferase in the blood, if the damage to the tissues is great. If a person has severe tissue damage, the aspartate aminotransferase levels goes up to six to ten hours, and can remain like this for about four days.

Another test for alanine aminotransferase can also be carried out at the same time as AST. These tests are done to determine damaged organs. Liver damage can also be checked with these tests.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

  • This test can check if the liver is damaged.
  • It can help find out liver disease, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
  • How successful a liver treatment is can be checked through this test.
  • Doctors can find out the reason for jaundice i.e. liver disease or blood disorder, through AST.
  • This test is often done to check how certain medicines for lowering cholesterol as well as other medicines are affecting the liver.

This is the time to discuss your concerns with your physician.


You can prepare for the test by avoiding strenuous exercise. You should also inform your doctor about your medical history, are taking certain medicinal herbs, are allergic to some medicine, or, are pregnant.


For this test, a medical professional will take a sample of your blood. This should feel like a usual blood test.

Risks Involved

Since for the test, the medical professional has to do a blood test and will be extracting some blood for this, there is very little risk to the procedure. If the test is done in a professional manner, with clean needles and by following the correct medical procedure, then there’s not much you should worry about.

However, after the blood test, that area might feel raw and bruised for a short while. You can use a warm compress for relief.

Once the results of the test come fro the laboratory, your doctor will tell you what the analysis report is.