ALT test – SGPT; preparation and result interpertation

ALT test - SGPT

ALT test or Alanine aminotransferase test, also name SGPTK; What does it measure, are there necessary preparations for it, and what are the implications of its results?

ALT test – SGPT test measures the amount of Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in blood. ALT is an enzyme found mostly in the liver, and an important marker of liver function.

What is ALT test?

ALT is blood test measures the level of alanine transaminase enzyme in the blood. ALT is found mainly in the liver, so it considerd a liver function test. But it is also found in smaller amounts in the kidneys, heart, muscles, and pancreas. ALT was previously known as serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT).

ALT levels are measured to determine whether the liver is damaged or diseased. ALT levels in the blood are normally low. However, when the liver is damaged or diseased, it releases ALT into the bloodstream, causing ALT levels to rise. The majority of ALT increases are caused by liver damage.

The ALT blood test is frequently performed in conjunction with other tests for liver damage, such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and bilirubin. ALT and AST levels are both reliable indicators of liver damage.

Brief description of ALT test

Test purpose monitoring and screening for liver disease
Other named Serum GPT, Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Serum Glutamic-Pyruvic Transaminase (SGPT).
Needed specimen Serum or Plasma
Causes for Rejection Excessive hemolysis; excessive lipemia; incorrect labeling
Reference Range Males 0-41 U/L; Females 0-33 U/L
Methodology UV Testing, Kinetic

When to get tested for Alanine aminotransferase

A doctor will typically order an blood ALT test in conjunction with other laboratory tests to diagnose a patient who may be at risk of or undergoing treatment for a liver disorder. unusual weight gain, nausea, Jaundice, dark urine, vomiting, abdominal swelling,  and abdominal pain are some of the symptoms. ALT can also be used for that conditions:

  1. persons with a history of known or prospected hepatitis virus exposure.
  2. Those with a family history of liver disease.
  3. those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
  4. people who use drugs that may harm their liver.

preparation needed

There is no need to prepare for an ALT test, but Inform your doctor if you are taking any medications because some might interfere with the test results.

How is ALT test performed?

ALT test
ALT test (SGPT)

A small sample of blood is drawn for an ALT test, as described below:

  • A healthcare professional cleans your skin in the area where they will take the sample with an antiseptic.
  • They will wrap an elastic band around your upper arm, preventing blood flow and making veins more visible.
  • They will insert a needle once they have discovered a vein
A brief pinching or stinging sensation may result.
  • Blood is drawn into a tube attached to the needle’s tip.
  • The elastic band and needle are removed by the healthcare professional once enough blood has been collected.
  • They cover the puncture site with cotton or gauze and secure it with a bandage or tape.

Risks of the ALT test

An ALT test is a simple medical test with only a few risks. Direct blow to the puncture site for a few mins after the syringe is removed can reduce the risk of bruising.

The following complications may occur during or after an ALT test in extremely rare cases:

  • fainting or dizziness from the appearance of blood.
  • there was a lot of bleeding where the syringe was inserted.
  • A hematoma is an accumulation of blood underneath the skin.
  • a puncture site infection.


Normal Range

alanine aminotransferase or ALT is determined in units per liter of blood, abbreviated as U/L.

The normal range for women is 7-35 U/L and 7-40 U/L for men. Ranges may vary from lab to lab due to differences in equipment, techniques, and chemicals used.

ALT levels do not typically change significantly during pregnancy. They may slightly rise during the third trimester, but they generally remain below 40 U/L.

High ALT levels

High ALT levels can be caused by:

  • Liver damage caused by diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.
  • Gallbladder obstruction and pancreatic inflammation caused by gallstones (pancreatitis)
  • Thyroid gland that is underactive (hypothyroidism)
  • Heart disease or heart attack
  • Anorexia
  • Obesity
  • Carbon tetrachloride poisoning.
  • Abuse of alcohol
  • Poisoning with lead.
  • High-intensity exercise or a severe muscle injury.
  • Tissue damage as a result of surgery or burns
  • Mononucleosis.
  • necrosis.
  • Many medications include antibiotics, statins,  chemotherapy, opioids, aspirin, and barbiturates.
  • Growth spurts, particularly in children. Rapid growth can result in mildly elevated ALT levels.
  • Hemolysis is the abnormal destruction of red blood cells.

Low ALT levels

Low ALT levels are normal and expected; they are just unusual in the general population.
This is due to the fact that reference ranges are based on where 95% of a healthy population falls, which means that 5% of the population is healthy but not within the reference range.

There are a few factors that can lower ALT, but they are uncommon. For examples:

  • Kidney disease that is chronic
  • lack of vitamin B6
  • Hormone replacement therapy or oral contraception
  • Smoking
  • Regular physical activity

AST/ALT Ratio Means

The AST/ALT ratio is significant because its pattern can reveal a lot about the underlying condition. The following are the general guidelines for diagnosing liver disease:

  1. If an AST/ALT ratio is less than one (the ALT is significantly higher than the AST), you may have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  2. If an AST/ALT ratio is one (where the ALT equals the AST) could indicate acute viral hepatitis or drug-related liver toxicity.
  3.  If an AST/ALT ratio is higher than one (where the AST is higher than ALT) indicates you may have cirrhosis.
  4. If an AST/ALT ratio is greater than 2:1 (where the AST is more than twice as high as the ALT) indicates alcoholic liver disease.

Other things to consider

  • Many hepatitis C patients will have a normal ALT level.
  • Patients with severe liver disease and cirrhosis can have normal ALT levels.
  • When a patient receives hepatitis C treatment, it is beneficial to see if the ALT level decreases.

Related tests

  • Aspartate transaminase (AST)
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT)
  • Albumin
  • Total protein
  • Bilirubin
  • L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

The results of an ALT test may help distinguish between damage caused by acute (sudden) liver problems and damage caused by chronic (long-term) liver problems. However, the amount of ALT in your blood is unrelated to how much your liver may be damaged.
Talk with your doctor to ensure that you understand all of your liver test results, as well as how these results may affect your treatment.

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