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SGOT Levels: Causes, Symptoms, and Next Steps


SGOT levels, or Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase levels, play a critical role in assessing liver health and function. Elevated SGOT levels can be indicative of various medical conditions, from liver diseases to muscle injuries.

Understanding SGOT levels and their significance is essential for maintaining good health and preventing potential health complications.

In this blog, we will delve into the world of SGOT levels, shedding light on their importance and how to interpret them.

What is SGOT?

SGOT (Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase), also known as AST, is an enzyme found in various tissues, mainly the liver and heart. Elevated SGOT levels in blood tests indicate potential damage or diseases in these organs.

It’s a crucial marker for diagnosing and monitoring liver and heart conditions.

What is the Difference Between Normal and Abnormal SGOT Levels?

SGOT (AST) enzyme, prevalent in liver and heart tissues, is essential for amino acid metabolism. It becomes a valuable health marker when released into the bloodstream due to tissue damage, aiding in assessments.

Normal SGOT levels typically range between 10 to 40 units per litre (U/L), although slight variations exist depending on the lab’s reference range.

Abnormal SGOT levels may signal several medical conditions:

  1. Liver damage: Elevated SGOT levels can indicate liver issues such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver disease.
  2. Heart issues: SGOT levels may rise due to heart injuries like a heart attack or myocarditis, although other cardiac markers are more specific.
  3. Muscle damage: Muscle injuries or diseases like muscular dystrophy can also elevate SGOT levels.
  4. Medications: Certain drugs, like statins, can cause SGOT levels to increase.
  5. Other factors: Non-specific factors like strenuous exercise, recent surgery, or alcohol consumption may temporarily elevate SGOT. 

Remember, SGOT levels alone aren’t diagnostic; they require interpretation alongside medical history, symptoms, and additional tests. Consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation if you’re concerned about your SGOT levels.

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What Are the Causes of Elevated SGOT Levels?

Elevated Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase (SGOT or AST) levels in the blood can signify various health issues. Common causes include:

  • Liver disease: Hepatitis (viral or autoimmune), alcoholic liver disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Cardiac issues: Myocardial infarction (heart attack) and congestive heart failure.
  • Muscle injury: Skeletal muscle trauma, strenuous exercise, or conditions like rhabdomyolysis.
  • Medications and toxins: Certain drugs and liver-toxic substances.
  • Biliary tract disease: Obstruction or inflammation of the bile ducts.
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Hemolysis: Rarely, destruction of red blood cells.
  • Other conditions: Various medical conditions or genetic factors.

For a comprehensive assessment that identifies the underlying reason and the best course of action, speak with a healthcare professional.

What Are the Symptoms Associated With Abnormal SGOT Levels?

Abnormal SGOT (Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase) levels do not typically produce specific symptoms but are indicators of underlying medical conditions. Elevated SGOT levels may suggest damage or inflammation in the liver or heart, leading to various symptoms:

  • Liver-related symptoms: Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes), abdominal pain, dark urine, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Heart-related symptoms (less common): Chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, or fainting.

Abnormal SGOT levels can also be associated with conditions affecting muscles, kidneys, or other tissues, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis, as elevated SGOT levels alone do not constitute a diagnosis but indicate the need for further investigation and appropriate treatment.

How are High SGOT Levels Diagnosed?

Diagnosing high SGOT (serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase) levels involves a multifaceted approach:

  • Initial assessment:

    Begin with a review of the patient’s medical history and any associated symptoms.

  • Physical examination

    Conduct a thorough physical exam to detect signs of liver or heart disease.

  • Blood tests

    Order tests including SGPT (ALT), ALP, bilirubin, and CBC to assess liver function and exclude other causes.

  • Imaging studies

    Utilise ultrasound, CT scans, or MRIs to visualise the liver and identify abnormalities.

  • Additional diagnostic tests

    Depending on the findings, consider liver biopsy or other specialised tests to pinpoint the cause.

  • Cardiac evaluation

    If heart damage is suspected, perform ECG, echocardiogram, or cardiac enzyme tests.

Collaboration with a healthcare provider is crucial to determine the underlying cause and establish an appropriate treatment plan, given the various potential causes of elevated SGOT levels.

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How Are Abnormal SGOT Levels Managed and Treated? 

Management of abnormal SGOT (AST) levels depends on the underlying cause:

  • Liver disease: Address specific liver conditions like viral hepatitis with antivirals, alcohol-related issues with abstinence, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with lifestyle changes.
  • Cirrhosis: Manage complications and underlying causes.
  • Muscle injury: Rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatories for muscle strains.
  • Medications/toxins: Adjust or discontinue problematic drugs or remove toxin exposure.
  • Heart conditions: Tailored treatments based on heart problems.
  • Autoimmune disorders: Immunosuppressive medicines for autoimmune liver diseases.
  • Other causes: Specialised treatments for unique conditions.

Patients should collaborate with healthcare providers for thorough assessments, diagnostic tests, and personalised treatment plans. Lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and medications can address the root issue and improve liver or muscle health.

What Are the Preventive Measures for Maintaining Healthy SGOT Levels?

Maintaining healthy SGOT levels is essential for overall health, especially as elevated levels can indicate liver or heart problems. Here are preventive measures to consider:

Dietary choices:

  • Follow a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Limit processed foods, sugary beverages, and unhealthy fats.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can damage the liver.

Exercise and weight management:

Engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and improve cardiovascular health.

Medications and supplements:

Consult healthcare professionals before taking any medications or supplements that may affect liver function.

Chronic condition management:

Effectively manage conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, which can impact liver health.

Infections prevention

  • Practise safe sex and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B to reduce the risk of liver infections.
  • Maintain good hygiene, including regular handwashing, to prevent infections.

Regular check-ups:

Visit healthcare providers for routine check-ups and SGOT-level monitoring to detect issues early.

Stress management:

Incorporate stress-reduction techniques like meditation and yoga into your routine for overall well-being.

Toxin avoidance:

Minimise exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals that can harm the liver.

Remember that personalised advice from healthcare professionals is crucial, as recommendations may vary based on individual health status and medical history.


Understanding SGOT levels is crucial for assessing liver health. Monitoring these levels can aid in the early detection and management of liver diseases, promoting overall well-being. It is always advisable to seek medical help from an experienced gastroenterologist. Timely care and help can ensure an appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your condition. 

At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult a gastroenterologist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment at the CK Birla Hospital.


What Exactly is Sgot and Why is It Important?

SGOT (Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase) is an enzyme in the liver and heart, used to diagnose and monitor liver and heart conditions.

How Are Sgot Levels Tested and What Do the Results Mean?

SGOT levels are tested through a blood test. Elevated levels may indicate liver or heart damage, while normal levels suggest healthy function.

What Are the Common Causes of Elevated SGOT Levels?

Common causes of elevated SGOT levels include liver disease, heart conditions, alcohol use, muscle injury, and certain medications.

What Treatments Are Available for High Sgot Levels?

Treatment for high SGOT levels depends on the underlying cause, such as managing liver disease, heart conditions, or discontinuing medications causing the elevation.

Can Lifestyle Changes Impact My SGOT Levels?

Yes, adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, exercise, and limiting alcohol can help improve and maintain normal SGOT levels.

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