Liver Blood Tests

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Normally, where are AST and ALT (aminotransferase enzymes)?

AST (SGOT) is normally found in a variety of tissues including liver, heart, muscle, kidney, and the brain. It is released into the serum when any one of these tissues is damaged. For example, AST level in serum is elevated in heart attacks or with muscle injury. It is therefore, not a highly specific indicator of liver injury as its elevation can occur as a result of other injured tissues.

ALT (SGPT) is, by contrast, normally found largely in the liver. This is not to say that it is exclusively located in the liver, but that is where it is most concentrated. It is released into the bloodstream as the result of liver injury. Thus, it serves as a fairly specific indicator of liver status.

What are normal levels of AST and ALT?

  • The normal range of values for AST (SGOT) is about 5 to 40 units per liter of serum (the liquid part of the blood).
  • The normal range of values for ALT (SGPT) is about 7 to 56 units per liter of serum.

However, the ranges of AST and ALT numbers may differ slightly depending on the technique and protocols used by different laboratories worldwide. However, normal reference ranges are routinely provided by each laboratory and printed with each patient's individual report.

Reviewed on 4/20/2016

Brailita, D. M. "Amebic Hepatic Abscesses Workup." Medscape. Udpated Apr 15, 2015.

Sears, D. MD. "Fatty Liver." Medscape. Updated Nov 30, 2015.

Sood, G. "Acute Liver failure workup." Medscape. Updated Feb 04, 2016.


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