Introduction Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) has been re-established as a marker of cardiovascular risk rather than simply an indicator of liver disease. However, there is little data on the associations between GGT and groups with conventional cardiovascular risk factors in the primary care setting. We sought to examine the factors associated with elevated GGT in an Irish primary care population.
Methods We explored the baseline data set of the STOP HF Study, a prospective study of a cohort with defined CV risk factors and no known ventricular dysfunction. To identify multivariable associates of higher GGT, we conducted logistic regression, using GGT above and below the 75th percentile as the binary outcome for males (49 u/l) and females (38 u/l).
Results Complete data were available in 879 participants. Multivariable associates of GGT [Exponential β-coefficient (95% CI); p-value] in males were younger age [0.97 (0.96 to 0.99); <0.02], higher diastolic blood pressure (BP) [1.05 (1.02 to 1.07); <0.001] total cholesterol [1.99 (1.19–3.39);<0.001] and HsCRP [2.01 (1.12–3.57);<0.02] and lower urea [0.75 (0.63–0.89); <001] and HDL [0.33 (0.18–0.61); <0.001]. In females, higher body mass index [1.08 (1.03–1.13); <0.001] and systolic BP [1.01 (1.00–1.02); <0.05] and the application of β-blockers [1.49 (1.27–1.87); <0.02] was associated with higher GGT.
Conclusions We demonstrate that independently and even within its normal ranges, GGT is associated with markers of cardiovascular risk in a primary care population. Particularly in males, GGT appears to be a coherent risk factor associated with incipient underlying disease, in keeping with mechanistic evidence suggesting its role in atherogenesis. GGT measurement is an easily accessible and inexpensive biomarker for cardiovascular risk assessment.
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