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SGOT And SGPT Enzyme Tests

What are enzyme tests?

An enzyme test is a blood test that measures certain enzyme levels to assess how well the body’s systems are functioning and whether there has been any tissue damage.

SGOT (AST) and (ALT) is an enzyme found mostly in the liver but also in the heart, the muscles, the kidneys, the pancreas and in red blood cells. High elevations may be associated with liver disease or muscle trauma. Elevations may also be associated with a variety of conditions including myocardial infarction (heart attack), pancreatitis, bile duct obstruction and more.

SGPT is also an enzyme found mostly in the liver. Unlike SGOT, SGPT has much less enzyme outside the liver. Its elevation is usually more specific to direct liver disease.

What is ALT Or SGPT ?

ALT(Serum Glutamic-Pyruvic Transaminase): When damage occurs, ALT is released from the liver cells into the bloodstream, often before jaundice appears. This results in abnormally high serum levels of the enzyme that may not return to normal very fast.

The purpose of this blood serum test is to help detect and evaluate treatment of acute hepatic disease, especially hepatitis, and cirrhosis without jaundice. To help distinguish between myocardial (heart) and liver tissue damage. Also to assess hepatotoxicity of some drugs.

ALT levels by a commonly used method range from 10 to 32 U/L; in women, from 9 to 24 U/L. (There does exist differing ranges used by various laboratories.)

The normal range for infants is twice that of adults.

A very high ALT level (up to 50 times normal) suggests viral or severe drug-induced hepatitis, or other hepatic disease with extensive death of liver cells. Moderate-to-high levels may indicate infectious mononucleosis, chronic hepatitis, intrahepatic cholestasis or cholecystitis, early or improving acute viral hepatitis, or severe hepatic congestion due to heart failure. Slight-to-moderate elevations of ALT may appear in any condition that produces acute hepatocellular (liver cell) injury, such as active cirrhosis, and drug-induced or alcoholic hepatitis.

Marginal elevations occasionally occur in acute heart attack, reflecting secondary hepatic congestion or the release of small amounts of ALT from heart tissue.

Many medications produce hepatic injury by competitively interfering with cellular metabolism. Falsely elevated ALT levels can follow use of barbiturates, narcotics, methotrexate, chlorpromazine salicylates (aspirin), and other drugs that affect the liver.

What is AST or SGOT ?

AST(Serum Glutamic-Oxalocetic Transaminase) levels, by a commonly used method, range from 8 to 20 U/L although some ranges may express a maximum high in the 40s.

AST levels fluctuate depending on the extent of cell death. This means that it might be temporarily elevated during the early disease process, and extremely elevated during the most acute phase. Depending on when the initial sample was drawn, AST levels can rise- indicating increasing disease severity and tissue damage- or fall- indicating disease resolution and tissue repair. Thus, the relative change in AST values serves as a reliable monitoring mechanism.

Maximum elevations are associated with certain diseases and conditions. For example, very high elevations (more than 20 times normal) may indicate acute viral hepatitis, severe skeletal muscle trauma, extensive surgery, drug- induced hepatic injury, and severe liver congestion. High levels (ranging from 10 to 20 times normal) may indicate severe heart attack, severe infectious mononucleosis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. High levels may also occur during the resolving stages of conditions that cause maximal elevations.

Moderate-to-high levels (ranging from 5 to 10 times normal) may indicate chronic hepatitis and other conditions. Low-to-moderate levels (ranging from 2 to 5 times normal) may indicate metastatic hepatic tumours, acute pancreatitis, pulmonary emboli, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and fatty liver (steatosis).

Last Modified : Jan 16, 2003.
Compiled and edited by Editorial Team and approved by Expert Panel of

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