Lowering the upper limit of serum alanine aminotransferase levels may reveal significant liver disease in the elderly

Hemda Schmilovitz-Weiss, Rachel Gingold-Belfer, Alon Grossman, Nidal Issa, Doron Boltin, Yichayaou Beloosesky, Nira Morag Koren, Joseph Meyerovitch, Avraham Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study sought to determine the prevalence of significant liver disease in those subjects with serum alanine aminotransferase levels in the range between the current and the newly suggested upper limit of normal (termed the delta range). The files of the previous study subjects (who underwent at least one alanine aminotransferase measurement in 2002 and followed to 2012) were reviewed for a diagnosis of chronic liver disease; aspartate aminotransferase/ platelet ratio index, FIB-4 and alanine aminotransferase/aspartate aminotransferase ratio were used to evaluate liver fibrosis. The prevalence of significant liver disease, by diagnoses and fibrosis scores was compared between subjects with alanine aminotransferase levels in the delta range (men, 42-45 IU/L; women, 26-34 IU/L) and in the newly suggested normal range (men, 15-42 IU/L; women, 10-26 IU/L). The cohort included 49,634 subjects (41% male, mean age 83±6 years) of whom 2022 were diagnosed with chronic liver disease including 366 with cirrhosis. Compared to subjects with alanine aminotransferase levels in the newly suggested normal range, subjects with alanine aminotransferase levels in the delta range had a significantly higher rate of chronic liver disease (men, 15.3% vs. 4.9%; women, 7.8% vs. 3.3%) and of cirrhosis specifically (men, 4.2% vs. 0.9%; women, 1.5% vs. 0.4%) and also had higher mean fibrosis scores (P <0.001 for all). Lowering the current upper limit of normal of serum alanine aminotransferase may help to identify elderly patients at risk of significant liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0212737
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

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