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Elevated liver enzymes associated with higher future mortality
Date:3/3/2008

They compared their results to mortality data for Minnesota Whites and found that elevated AST was associated with a significantly increased standardized mortality rate (SMR). Elevated ALT was also associated with a higher SMR. The SMRs ranged between 1.21 and 1.78.

We demonstrate that serum AST and ALT activities are associated with increased risk of mortality in the ensuing decade, the authors report. The relation between the aminotransferase results at the outset and the subsequent risk of death (excluding the first two years) was almost linear. It is clearly shown that these simple, inexpensive blood tests may represent valuable indicators of long-term outcome.

While the precise reasons for the association are unclear, some in the population undoubtedly had elevated enzymes as a result of serious liver disease. In addition, the authors suggest that elevated serum AST and ALT may be markers of cardiovascular diseases (nearly 34 percent of the deaths in the study population were due to cardiovascular causes). Other conditions such as chronic alcohol consumption or abuse may have contributed to the risk of death as well.

They study had limitations. First, the population was not a random sample and they were community residents who had reasons for receiving medical care. Second, their aminotransferase levels were only measured once. Lastly, they were mostly Caucasian, reducing the generalizability of the data. Still, the findings are strong.

These data, based on a large number of residents in a U.S. community, suggest that serum levels of AST and ALT obtained in a routine medical care setting are associated with future mortality, the authors conclude.


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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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