They may indicate liver damage. However there are many factors which affect them including sex, race , time of day the test was done etc.
The ratio of the ALT SGPT) and AST (SGOT) may also provide useful information regarding the extent and cause of liver disease. Most liver diseases are characterized by greater ALT elevations than AST elevations. Two exceptions to this rule exist. Both cirrhosis and/or alcohol abuse are associated with higher AST levels than ALT levels, often in a ratio of approximately 2:1.
Elevations of the transaminases occur due to so many causes that they give the doctor only a vague clue of the diagnosis. Additional testing is required in order to determine more precisely what is wrong with the liver. Some possible causes of elevated transaminase levels include the following:
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