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What Is an AST Test? Why Is It Conducted?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 01:20 AM

AST stands for aspartate aminotransferase. AST is a test that is conducted to check whether a person is suffering from liver disease. The liver is a very important part of the body and it must be in good condition. There are enzymes in the liver that help it build and break down proteins. One of these enzymes is AST.
AST is found in the liver, heart, muscle tissues, red blood cells, pancreas, and the kidneys. The blood usually contains low levels of AST. When this level increases, it means a body tissue or organ such as the heart or liver is diseased or damaged. This increase is directly proportionate to the extent of disease or damage.

Symptoms That Lead to an AST Test

An AST test is ordered if a child shows any symptoms of liver disease. These symptoms can include jaundice, diarrhea, pain in the upper abdomen, vomiting, etc. An AST test can be ordered when the symptoms show that a person is suffering from liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. The AST test can also be ordered for patients who are taking cholesterol medicines and other medications that can damage the liver as a side effect.
Whenever the liver is diseased or damaged, it means there is a rise in AST enzymes. AST tests are carried out to monitor this rise, when the patient shows symptoms of damage or disease. There are different symptoms of different diseases that may start to occur in the patient.
If the AST test results are not under the normal AST enzyme rate, then the patient is suffering from a liver disease. The normal range of the AST enzyme is five to 40 units per liter of serum. The AST enzyme is also present in the heart, kidney, muscles, and brain. Another term for AST is SGOT, which stands for serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase.

Preparation for AST Test to Detect Liver Disease

To get an AST test to detect disease or damage to the liver, there needs to be no earlier preparation. The doctor should be made aware of the medications the patient is taking. This is because some drugs may lead to alterations in the test result. You must also inform the doctor if you are allergic to any medicines or are pregnant.

How Is the AST Test Done?

The AST test is done by taking a blood sample from the patient. The upper arm of the patient is wrapped tight. The blood sample is taken via an injection. The needle is removed and the site is wrapped tight in bandage. This sample blood is then sent to the laboratory for investigation.

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An AST test is conducted to check the condition of the enzymes in the liver. If the liver is not functioning properly, then there will an elevation of the AST enzymes in the bloodstream.
ast test, liver, enzyme, symptom, disease
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 01:20 AM
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