Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is elevated, what does it mean

AST aspartate aminotransferase is an enzyme (endogenous), which modern medicine classifies as a transferase group and a transaminase subgroup. Currently, AST analysis is carried out in the complex diagnosis of pathologies of the heart (muscle, myocardium), liver. If an adult or child has any pathological changes in these organs, then in the process of cell destruction, AST will enter the bloodstream. This is revealed through laboratory tests. In other words, an increase in the level of an enzyme is always cell decay, or necrosis.

The reasons for the increase in AST in the blood

irombl - 7The enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), are known primarily as “liver function tests”. Usually they are prescribed together when it comes to the liver, but in heart disease, AcaT can be found in combination with other biochemical indicators: coagulogram, LDH, D-dimer, etc.

The level of AST in the blood is directly dependent on the extent of damage to the tissues of the organ in which the pathological changes occur. An increase in AST in most cases indicates a serious condition of the patient. At the same time, too high an AsAt index in the blood may be the result of necrotic changes in organs such as the heart and liver. An increased AST index in a biochemical blood test can persist for a week and at the same time exceed the normal limits by almost 5 times. A too high AST enzyme may indicate that there is a poor prognosis for the patient.

Many patients do not know why the biochemical blood test contains an increased value of the enzyme. An increase in the level of an endogenous enzyme indicates that the myocardial tissue is most likely damaged in men or women. To say exactly what this means can a cardiologist, to whom, after laboratory diagnostics, you need to make an appointment. If AST is detected in the blood in a smaller amount than ALT, then this may indicate the beginning of destructive processes in the liver cells. If the patient’s aspartate aminotransferase is lowered, then it can be argued that there is a deficiency of vitamin B6 in his body, and necrotic processes occur in the liver against the background of a low enzyme.

Increased AST in the blood may have the following reasons:

  • cirrhosis or liver necrosis,
  • hepatitis,
  • malignant neoplasm in the liver with metastases,
  • alcoholism,
  • hepatosis,
  • monocucleisis,
  • cholestasis,
  • autoimmune pathologies (hereditary),
  • heart attack.

An increase in AsAt may indicate the presence of various pathological conditions:

  • getting heatstroke,
  • burns of varying severity,
  • mushroom poisoning (poisonous),
  • various injuries.

When does the need for a blood test arise?

If the attending physician, when examining a patient, suspects serious pathological processes in his body, then he will necessarily prescribe him a set of apparatus and laboratory tests. First of all, the patient donates blood for analysis. A biochemical blood test allows you to confirm or refute the suspicions of the attending physician about the development of diseases such as:

  • malignant neoplasms in the liver,
  • any form of hepatitis,
  • cirrhosis,
  • metastases to organs and tissues,
  • necrotic processes
  • heart attack, etc.
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After the laboratory examines the blood, in which specialists identify the enzyme below normal or, on the contrary, increased, the causes can be determined, and treatment will be prescribed in accordance with the form of the pathology, the degree of its progression.

How do I prepare for a laboratory blood test?

pho - 9Very often, aspartate aminotransferase is elevated in the blood due to the fact that the patient has not properly prepared for laboratory tests. Patients should remember that the use of a herbal decoction before taking the test can lower or increase the AST indicator in the blood. If the AST indicators are increased, then their rapid growth can be provoked by any medications that the patient takes. To obtain a reliable test result, you should stop taking any medications, even aspartic acid, a few days before the visit to the medical institution. If the patient is forced to drink them regularly, since he must treat a chronic disease, then the doctor who prescribed the study should be warned about this. He should be given full information about the drug, dosage and duration of administration.

In many women, during pregnancy, the AST blood count is increased or its decrease is observed over time. This is due to global changes in the body associated with gestation and preparation for labor. It is also worth noting that AST is higher than normal when allergic reactions develop in the body to any medications or other provoking factors. In a child, AST is elevated in any inflammatory processes that may not necessarily provoke serious pathological changes in the liver or cardiac system. If the baby has an increased enzyme in the blood, then additional studies are carried out to him, the purpose of which is to confirm the preliminary diagnosis.

All pregnant women should be monitored by specialists for 9 months. Doctors will regularly refer them to laboratory tests in order to keep their blood enzyme levels under control. Specialists pay close attention to the AST indicator. If it gradually increases, then the pregnant woman is sent for a comprehensive diagnosis. In some cases, an increased value of the enzyme may indicate dropsy in the developing fetus, as well as the development of moderate nephropathy. In the case when the blood count began to rise rapidly, experts can assume that pregnant patients develop thrombosis, cardiac pathology, problems with the pancreas or gallbladder.

In most pregnant women, the level of this enzyme decreases (35 U/L is considered the norm). This is due to the fact that they eat irrationally and their body does not receive the required amount of vitamins with food. As a rule, a low concentration of AST indicates a deficiency of B vitamins 1, 2, 6. In this case, vitamin therapy is prescribed to pregnant patients. Specialists individually select drugs for each patient. If the underestimated concentration of AST is in no way associated with a lack of vitamins, then women are referred to other narrow-profile specialists for further diagnosis. After identifying the cause, a decision will be made on the use of drug therapy, the purpose of which will be to eliminate the cause of the deviations.

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How is laboratory research carried out?

In order to conduct a laboratory study of the patient’s biological material, a specialist takes venous blood from him. The patient must come to a medical facility in the morning on an empty stomach. In the process of conducting research, laboratory assistants will take into account the normal value of transaminases and other standards approved by the relevant standards:

240 f 84367026 mkhhqaban0v7f8qkahdr5qdtwr1xpuj1 e1493035915979 - 11In newborns, the enzyme index should fluctuate in the range of 25 U/L-75 U/L. If the level of the enzyme is increased, then this will indicate the development of inflammatory or pathological processes.

Children, whose age ranges from 1-18 years old, should normally have an indicator of 15U/L-60U/L. The upper number, indicating the maximum permissible normal indicator, should alert parents and make an appointment with a cardiologist.

In the female half of the population, an enzyme level in the range of 10 U/L-36 U/L will be considered normal. If the lower AST value in the blood is low, then women should make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

In men, AST is normally slightly increased than in women, and fluctuates in the range of 14 U/L-20 U/L.

It is worth noting that for many people this indicator can significantly increase in the presence of the following provoking factors:

  1. the body is given systematic physical activity, which greatly exhaust it,
  2. while taking medications such as barbiturates, antibiotics, NSAIDs,
  3. alcohol abuse,
  4. taking vitamin A at an overestimated dosage.

Too high an enzyme level in the blood may indicate not only pathological processes in the vital organs of a person. Viral diseases can provoke such a leap. Also, an overestimated indicator is present in people whose body is subjected to systematic intoxication against the background of alcohol abuse, due to the breakdown of liver cells.

In patients who take psychotropic drugs or narcotic drugs, a laboratory blood test will almost always reveal an overestimated AST. The highest levels of the enzyme, as a rule, indicate the progression of malignant processes in the patient’s body.

The specialist who will decipher the analyzes will be able to assume that an irreversible process of metastasis has already started in his body.

If, in the course of laboratory tests of the patient’s venous blood, minor deviations from the norm were revealed, then most likely the reason for the increase in the enzyme was inflammatory processes. A not too high AST indicator may indicate the initial stage of development of pathological processes in different organs or systems.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.

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