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What is the SGOT test?

The SGOT test measures the amount of a substance called glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT) in your blood. It is an enzyme found in the liver, muscles (including the heart), and red blood cells. It is released into the blood when cells that contain it are damaged. Other names for this enzyme are aspartate aminotranskinase, aspartate transaminase, and AST.

Why is this test done?

The SGOT level is measured to check the function of your liver, kidneys, heart, pancreas, muscles, and red blood cells. It is also measured to check on medical treatments that may affect the liver.

How do I prepare for this test?

  • You may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that you are taking. Don't stop any of your regular medicines without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

A small amount of blood is taken from your arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Having this test will take just a few minutes of your time.

How will I get the test result?

Ask your healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of your test.

What does the test result mean?

The normal SGOT range for adults in most labs is 0 to 35 units per liter (U/L). The normal range may vary slightly from lab to lab. Normal ranges are usually shown next to your results in the lab report.

Your blood level of SGOT may be higher than normal because:

  • You have liver damage caused by:
    • infection (such as viral hepatitis or mononucleosis)
    • gallbladder disease
    • toxins (such as alcohol)
    • cancer.
  • You have muscle damage caused by:
    • muscle diseases, such as dermatomyositis or polymyositis)
    • progressive muscular dystrophy
    • injury, such as after a fall, auto accident, or seizure.
  • Your kidneys, heart, or liver are injured.
  • You have heart failure or have had a heart attack or recent heart catheterization.
  • You have kidney failure.
  • Your pancreas is inflamed.
  • There is a breakdown (hemolysis) of your red blood cells.
  • You are taking a medicine that affects the result.

What if my test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your medical history and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your healthcare provider about your result and ask questions.

If your test results are not normal, ask your healthcare provider:

  • if you need additional tests
  • what you can do to work toward a normal value
  • when you need to be tested again.
Written by Tom Richards, MD, for RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-06-28
Last reviewed: 2011-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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