Objective: Elevated aminotransferase levels indicating liver function, even in the normal range, have attracted great concern as potential novel markers of cardiovascular risk assessment. We hypothesized the possibility that liver function test variations in the normal range might be meaningfully associated to coronary artery disease (CAD).
Method: Eighty-eight patients were randomly selected from those who underwent coronary angiography from June 2010 to June 2011 after applying to the outpatient cardiology clinic in Gulhane Military Medical Academy. According to the results of angiographies, patients were classified into three groups as normal, non-critical (< 50% involvement in coronaries), and critical (≥ 50% involvement in coronaries). In addition to angiographic intervention, measurements of serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) concentrations, albumin and the other serum parameters were performed in all patients.
Results: The patient groups of CAD were balanced (28 critical cases, 30 non-critical cases and 30 normal cases). Mean age was 51.93 ± 9.3 (range 32–65) years and 19.3 per cent (n = 17) were females. Multiple linear regression analysis of all three liver function tests explained a significant portion of the variance, but adjusted r-squares were small (AST = 0.174, ALT = 0.242, albumin = 0.124). Albumin was significantly higher for patients with critical CAD than for patients with no CAD (beta = 3.205, p = 0.002). Non-critical CAD was not significantly different from no CAD for any of the dependent variables. Mean AST was significantly higher for patients taking aspirin (beta = 0.218, p = 0.049), as was mean ALT (beta = 0.264, p = 0.015).
Conclusion: Alanine aminotransferase and AST may not be associated with angiographically determined coronary atherosclerosis. Albumin may be more sensitive to demonstrate the burden of atherosclerosis. These results indicate that the association between the liver function tests and coronary atherosclerosis may be more complex than generally appreciated.