The presence of elevated serum aminotransferase activity is a sign of possible underlying liver disease.
Dr George Ioannou and colleagues described the prevalence and predictors of elevated alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase activity.
The research team assessed 6823 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1999 and 2002.
The team compared the findings to the results already published on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1988 and 1994.
In the 1999 to 2002 survey, the prevalences of elevated alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase , or either was 9%, 5%, and 10%, respectively.
In the entire population these prevalences were 7%, 4%, and 8%, respectively.
| In the 1999 to 2002 survey, the prevalence of elevated alanine aminotransferase was 9%|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The researchers excluded participants who tested positive for Hepatitis C virus antibody or reported excessive alcohol consumption.
Strong predictors of elevated alanine aminotransferase activity included increasing waist circumference, body mass index, decreasing age, and male sex.
The team found that alcohol consumption, Mexican American ethnicity, and presence of Hepatitis C virus antibody were also strong predictors.
The team noted that the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994 employed a different assay methodology.
The prevalences of elevated aminotransferases were approximately half of the prevalences described in the 1999 to 2002 survey.
As described in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from1999 to 2002, the predictors of elevated alanine aminotransferase activity were similar.
Dr George Ioannou and colleague said, “The current prevalence of elevated alanine aminotransferase activity in the United States, at 9%, is more than double that of previously available estimates.”
“This prevalence is very high, even among persons without viral Hepatitis C or excessive alcohol consumption.”
“It is strongly associated with risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease."