Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) blood test

What is an Aspartate Aminotransferase Test (AST Test)?

The Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test measures an enzyme, AST, present in the heart, muscles, liver, and other organs. AST is released into the bloodstream when there is damage to liver or heart cells. An AST test is used to diagnose liver diseases or to detect muscle diseases or damage. This test is typically done as part of a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

Preparation for an AST Test

No special preparation is required for an AST test. Your doctor might suggest that you fast overnight before the test.

Procedure for an AST Test

The AST test is done by taking a blood sample from your arm. The sample will be sent to a lab for analysis. Results of the test are usually available in 24 to 48 hours.

Types of AST Tests

There are two types of AST tests: serum AST and plasma AST. The serum AST is the most common type and is used to check if there is damage to the heart or liver. The plasma AST is used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for certain liver diseases.

Risks of an AST Test

The AST Test is a simple procedure and poses no risks. The most common side effect is slight pain and bruising at the site where the needle was inserted.

Why is an AST Test Performed?

  • To diagnose liver diseases
  • To diagnose heart diseases
  • To monitor the effectiveness of treatment for certain liver diseases
  • To detect muscle diseases or damage

When is an AST Test Performed?

An AST Test is usually performed along with other tests, such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase. It can also be requested if other tests indicate a possibility of liver or heart disorders.