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Evidence to Improve Care

Aspartate Aminotransferase Testing

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends that aspartate aminotransferase testing be restricted to ordering by or on the advice of physicians with experience treating liver disorders.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

Aspartate aminotransferase is an enzyme (a protein) found in many organs and tissues in the body, including the liver, heart, and muscle cells. Doctors often use aspartate aminotransferase test results to diagnose or monitor liver damage. However, AST is found in parts of the body other than the liver, so it is not a very specific test.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews Aspartate Aminotransferase Testing

Health Quality Ontario talked to experts to find out whether aspartate aminotransferase testing in community-based laboratories is helpful.

Asparate Aminotransferase Testing in Community-Based Laboratories: An Expert Consultation (PDF)
June 2013

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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: AST was removed from the Ontario Laboratory Requisition form in August 2007.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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