What Are SGPT Levels?

SGPT, or serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase, is an enzyme that enters the blood when the heart or liver are damaged, according to MedicineNet. When a condition like hepatitis C causes damage to the liver, SGPT levels rise.

SGPT is also known as alanine aminotransferase. Causes of very high SGPT levels include:

  • Liver damage arising from hepatitis, an acetaminophren overdose or toxin/drug abuse.
  • Tumor necrosis

People experiencing moderately high levels of SGPT may be experiencing:

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Heart damage as a result of a heart attack or heart failure
  • Heatstroke that results in extensive tissue damage
  • Hemolysis
  • Consuming too much vitamin A

Causes of slightly elevated SGPT levels include:

  • Mononucleosis (glandular fever)
  • Changes in the liver's fat composition
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Taking certain drugs, such as barbituates, HIV medication, herbs, statins and aspirin

Doctors usually measure SGPT levels by taking blood. This test may form part of a routine liver panel, hepatic function panel or AST/ALT ratio. When liver disease is suspected as a result of underlying causes, such as jaundice or alcoholism, or when doctors need to monitor liver function, they measure SGPT levels. When using the AST/ALT test, elevated SGPT levels with normal ALT levels can indicate that the liver is normal, but other organs are suffering from damage. It is common practice for scientists to use the term alanine aminotransferase over SGPT.