Medical Definition of Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): Also known as serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT), AST is an enzyme that is normally present in liver and heart cells. AST is released into blood when the liver or heart is damaged. The blood AST levels are thus elevated with liver damage (for example, from viral hepatitis) or with an insult to the heart (for example, from a heart attack). Some medications can also raise AST levels.

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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

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