Aspartate aminotransferase is an enzyme required for the body's proper functioning. It is found in all active cells in the body where it plays a major role in the energetic metabolism. It is found in larger quantities in heart muscle, liver, pancreas and red blood cells. When the cells of these organs are affected, they release AST in the blood, thus raising blood AST levels to abnormal levels.
If the result if too high
Heart damage, from an infarction or the passage of a catheter for example, may raise AST levels. Liver damage, from hepatitis, cirrhosis, mononucleosis or surgery, can also raise blood AST levels. Finally, muscle damage, for example from seizures, a surgery or trauma, can also elevate blood levels.
Blood levels can be higher due to inappropriate blood sample storage. Vigorous physical activity prior to the test can also affect the result upward. Finally, several drugs increase blood AST levels, such as:
What you need to know before the test
Before going for blood tests, a procedure or other exam, it is best to always bring a list of all the drugs you take (prescription, OTC and natural health products). Unless told otherwise, you should take your medication as usual on the day of the test. When in doubt, ask your pharmacist for more information.
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.