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Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST): About Your Child's Test

What is it?

An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test measures the amount of AST in the blood. AST is an enzyme. When AST levels are higher than normal, it can mean that the liver or another organ is damaged or diseased.

Why is this test done?

This test is done to:

  • Check for liver damage.
  • Help look for liver disease, such as hepatitis. Liver disease may cause symptoms. These may include pain in the upper belly, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes jaundice.
  • Check to see how well treatment for liver disease is working.
  • Find out if jaundice was caused by a blood disorder or liver disease.
  • Keep track of the effects of cholesterol-lowering medicines and other medicines that can damage the liver.

How can you prepare for the test?

In general, you don't need to do anything before your child has this test. Your doctor may give you some specific instructions.

What happens during the test?

A health professional takes a sample of your child's blood.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.