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Aspartate AminoTransferase (AST) - description and reference ranges

What is it?

Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme produced by the liver. It is used as a marker of liver function/damage and high levels of AST may be an indicator that the liver has been damaged.

This marker should be interpreted together with another liver enzyme, the Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) which will give a more complete overall picture of the enzymes.

Reference ranges

If your indicative AST level is lower than the reference range for our laboratory:

Low levels of ALP are not particularly common. It may imply low levels of zinc in the body or general malnutrition, some types of anemia or thyroid disease

Please discuss this result with your GP.

If your indicative AST level is higher than the reference range for our laboratory:

High levels (8-10 times the reference range) are generally due to hepatitis (acute). This can be caused by a virus. In acute hepatitis, the AST levels can be high for up to 6 months, before returning to normal.

Moderately high levels, 3-5 times the upper limit of reference range usually mean chronic conditions of liver disease, chronic hepatitis. Several times the level of AST can be due to chronic alcohol abuse or cholestasis and heart, kidney or skeletal muscle damage.

AST tends to go up and down for chronic conditions, so it is worth measuring this value at set times, for continuity.

Please discuss this result with your GP.

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