The normal range of values for AST (SGOT) is from 5 to 40 units per liter of serum (the liquid part of the blood).
AST, or aspartate aminotransferase, is 1 of the 2 "liver enzymes." It is also known as serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase, or SGOT. AST is a protein made by liver cells. When liver cells are damaged, AST leaks out into the bloodstream and the level of AST in the blood becomes higher than normal. AST is different from ALT because AST is found in parts of the body other than the liver--including the heart, kidneys, muscles, and brain. When cells in any of those parts of the body are damaged, AST can be elevated.
Explanation of test results:
A high AST level often means there is some liver damage, but it is not necessarily caused by hepatitis C. A high AST with a normal ALT may mean that the AST is coming from a different part of the body. It is important to realize that the AST level in most patients with hepatitis C goes up and down. The exact AST level does not tell you how much liver damage there is, or whether the liver is getting better or worse, and small changes should be expected. However, for patients receiving treatment for hepatitis C, it is helpful to see if the AST level goes down.
Most common causes of isolated AST level would be alcohol use. If you are drinking abstain for alcohol and repeat the test to see if it improves. If it continues to be elevated, you may want to consider a hepatitis screen and a liver ultrasound (to evaluate for fatty liver or other anatomical abnormality).
If everything is negative, I would periodically observe the level to ensure it isn't rising. It isn't high enough to warrant a liver biopsy.
Followup with your personal physician is essential.
Is your ALT also elevated? If so, that would suggest follow-up with a liver specialist -- a gastro or preferably a hepatologist.
If not, one common cause is alcohol consumption. Do you drink a lot of alcohol? If so, you might want to stop drinking and then test again. If ALT stays elevated, then they might do an ultrasound to check liver architecture including fatty liver. By that point, you should probably be seeing a liver specialist who may run more tests.
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