The aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test is a blood test that checks for liver damage and is a part of liver profile. AST is also called SGOT (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase). It is an enzyme produced by your liver.
SGOT is released into blood when the liver is damaged. High SGOT in blood could also mean damage to the heart or kidneys. A high AST with a normal ALT may mean that the AST is coming from a different part of the body other than the liver.
Variation in the normal ranges of AST/SGOT
Normal ranges vary as below:
10 to 40 units/L
9 to 32 units/L
Causes of higher-than-normal AST levels
Chronic (ongoing) hepatitis
Cirrhosis (long-term damage and scarring of the liver)
Blockage in the bile ducts that carry digestive fluid from the liver to the gallbladder and intestine
Causes of a very high AST levels
Acute viral hepatitis (inflammation of the liver due to viral infection)
Damage to the liver from drugs or other toxic substances like alcohol
A blockage in blood flow to the liver
Other conditions not tied to your liver can also raise your AST level
Some diseases or medicines you take can cause a “false positive” result on the AST test. This means your test is positive, even though you don’t have liver damage. A false positive result can be due to Diabetic ketoacidosis, where your body can’t make enough insulin, or due to intake of some antibiotics, such as erythromycin estolate or para-aminosalicylic acid (Paser).