This test is used to measure serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), one of two enzymes that catalyze a reversible amino group transfer reaction in the Krebs cycle. ALT is necessary for tissue energy production. ALT is found primarily in the liver, with lesser amounts in the kidneys, heart, and skeletal muscles, and is a sensitive indicator of acute hepatocellular disease.
Procedure and posttest care
Serum ALT levels range from 7 to 56 U/L.
Very high ALT levels (up to 50 times normal) suggest viral or severe drug. induced hepatitis or other hepatic disease with extensive necrosis. Moderate to high levels may indicate infectious mononucleosis, chronic hepatitis, intrahepatic cholestasis or cholecystitil, early or improving acute viral hepatitis, or severe hepatic congestion due to heart failure.
Slight to moderate elevations of ALT may appear in any condition that produces acute hepatocellular injury, such as active cirrhosis and druginduced or alcoholic hepatitis. Marginal elevations occasionally occur in acute myocardial infarction, reflecting, secondary hepatic congestion or the release of small amounts of ALT from myocardial tissue.
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