Aspartate transferase (AST) is an enzyme created mainly by the cells of the liver and the heart. Any injury to the heart or liver, as well as other bodily tissues, will cause AST to be released into the bloodstream. AST is a marker for liver inflammation which can indicate liver damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption, fatty liver disease, medications as well as viral infections.
What might a low result mean?
Low levels of AST in the blood are normal.
What might a high result mean?
AST can also be temporarily elevated after vigorous exercise.
Raised levels of AST can be caused by any injury to the heart or liver, and other bodily tissues including muscles. Levels can be raised following a heart attack or, more commonly, from liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs or viruses (hepatitis).