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AST (asparate aminotransferase)

Edited by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

A liver enzyme that plays a role in protein metabolism, like ALT (serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase). Elevated serum levels of AST are a sign of liver damage from disease, like hepatitis B or C,  or from drugs.

Extreme Elevation:

  1. Acute stage of severe, sudden onset of  hepatitis

  2. Severe liver necrosis

  3. Skeletal muscle damage

  4. Acute myocardial infarction (level determined by size of infarction and by time between onset to infarct and drawing of blood sample)

Minor Elevation:

  1. Chronic hypokalemia (CPK levels elevated too)

  2. Morphine and meperidine may cause temporary elevations

  3. Warfarin or large doses of salicylate (occasionally)

  4. Congestive heart failure

  5. Tachyarrhythmias in the presence of shock

  6. Pericarditis

  7. Pulmonary infarction

  8. Dissecting aneurysm

  9. Cirrhosis

  10. Cholangiolitic jaundice

  11. Metastatic liver disease

  12. Skeletal muscle disease

  13. Post traumatic state

  14. Generalized infections (such as infectious mononucleosis)   



See herb therapy to lower AST and ALT


See Chinese herb therapy for hepatitis B.


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Last update: Mar 23, 2014; 12:40 p.m. LAH