Serum GGT Linked to Fatal, Non-Fatal Heart Disease

Large study finds association stronger in older subjects and alcohol drinkers

THURSDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Elevated levels of serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (serum GGT) are modestly associated with coronary heart disease in the general population, although a stronger association is seen in subjects younger than 60 years, alcohol drinkers and type 2 diabetics, according to a study in the September issue of the European Heart Journal.

Duk-Hee Lee, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 28,838 Finnish men and women aged 25 to 74 years to investigate whether serum GGT predicted coronary heart disease. The study's endpoints included non-fatal myocardial infarctions and fatal coronary heart disease-related events among the general population and those with type 2 diabetes.

During a median of 11.9 years, 1,467 coronary heart disease-related events were registered. At baseline, serum GGT was related to most cardiovascular risk factors (age, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking) in men and women. However, serum GGT remained an independent risk factor for incident coronary heart disease events after adjustment for these and other cardiovascular risk factors.

"After adjusting for known cardiovascular disease risk factors, there was a modest dose-response relation between serum GGT levels and the risk for both non-fatal myocardial infarctions and fatal coronary heart disease events," the authors conclude. "Serum GGT, usually considered as a marker of alcohol consumption or hepatobiliary diseases but equally considered as a marker of oxidative stress, may have important clinical implications for prediction of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and complications among diabetics."

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