Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) - plasma or serum

Last updated: Friday, 04, June, 2010

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in lithium heparin or plain tube.

Method

Spectrophotometry.

Reference Interval

<40 U/L. (<80 U/L in neonates).

Application

Detection and monitoring of liver cell damage.

Interpretation

Increased levels are found with hepatocellular disease.

The AST/ALT ratio is typically >1 in alcoholic liver disease and <1 in non-alcoholic liver disease.

Although AST levels are increased with cardiac and skeletal muscle disease, more specific tests are available in these situations.

Haemolysis during collection or refrigeration of unseparated blood may cause an artefactual increase.

SeeĀ Table 1.

Reference

Rochling FA. Clin Cornerstone 2001; 3(6): 1-12.