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By Anonymous June 15, 2011 - 8:23pm
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AST (SGOT) is normally found in a diversity of tissues including liver, heart, muscle, kidney, and brain. It is released into serum when any one of these tissues is damaged. For example, its level in serum rises with heart attacks and with muscle disorders. It is therefore, not a highly specific indicator of liver injury.

ALT (SGPT) is, by contrast, normally found largely in the liver. This is not to say that it is exclusively located in liver, but that is where it is most concentrated. It is released into the bloodstream as the result of liver injury. It therefore 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 from 5 to 40 units per liter of serum (the liquid part of the blood).

The normal range of values for ALT (SGPT) is from 7 to 56 units per liter of serum.

The ranges of AST and ALT numbers may differ slightly depending on the technique and protocols used by different laboratories. However, normal reference ranges are routinely provided by each laboratory and printed in the report.

What do elevated liver tests (AST and ALT) mean?

AST (SGOT) and ALT (SGPT) are sensitive indicators of liver damage or injury from different types of disease. But it must be emphasized that higher-than-normal levels of these liver enzymes should not be automatically equated with liver disease. They may mean liver problems or they may not. For example, elevations of these enzymes can occur with muscle damage. The interpretation of elevated AST and ALT levels depends upon the entire clinical evaluation of an individual, and so it is best done by physicians experienced in evaluating liver disease and muscle disease.

Moreover, the precise levels of these enzymes do not correlate well with the extent of liver damage or the prognosis (outlook). Thus, the exact levels of AST (SGOT) and ALT (SGPT) cannot be used to determine the degree of liver disease or predict the future. For example, individuals with acute viral hepatitis A may develop very high AST and ALT levels (sometimes in the thousands of units/liter range). But most people with acute viral hepatitis A recover fully without residual liver disease. To the contrary, people with chronic hepatitis C infection typically have only a little elevation in their AST and ALT levels. Some of these individuals may have quietly developed chronic liver disease such as chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis (advanced scarring of the liver).

It is, therefore, worth mentioning that these liver enzymes do not give an indication of the function of the liver. Sometimes they are mistakenly referred to as “liver function tests” or LFTs, but it is a misnomer commonly used even by most physicians.

The highest levels of AST and ALT are found with disorders that cause the death of numerous liver cells (extensive hepatic necrosis). This occurs in such conditions as:

acute viral hepatitis A or B,

profound liver damage inflicted by toxins as from an overdose of acetaminophen (brand-name Tylenol), and

prolonged collapse of the circulatory system (shock) when the liver is deprived of fresh blood bringing oxygen and nutrients.

There are many medications that could be affecting your wife's liver-- please visit, http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_blood_tests/article.htm for the complete list. Have you talked to her doctor about the prognosis and what can be done? To start, you can look over that list of meds and ensure that she does not further damage to her liver and her doctor may prescribe medications that may reverse the poisoning in her liver.

Please keep us updated--


June 16, 2011 - 7:38am
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