γ-Glutamyltransferase as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease Mortality
An Epidemiological Investigation in a Cohort of 163 944 Austrian Adults
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Background— There is evidence from recent studies that γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) is likely to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, few studies to date with sufficient sample size and follow-up investigated the association of GGT with CVD mortality.
Methods and Results— The relation of GGT to the risk of death from CVD was examined in a cohort of 163 944 Austrian adults that was monitored for up to 17 years. To evaluate GGT as an independent predictor, Cox proportional hazards models were calculated, which adjusted for established risk factors. In both men and women, high GGT was significantly (P<0.001) associated with total mortality from CVD, showing a clear dose-response relationship. Adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) per log GGT increase were 1.66 (1.40 to 1.98) in men and 1.64 (1.36 to 1.97) in women. In men, subgroup analyses showed that high GGT was positively associated with incident fatal events of chronic forms of coronary heart disease (P=0.009), congestive heart failure (P<0.001), and hemorrhagic (P=0.01) and ischemic stroke (P<0.001). No significant associations were observed for acute myocardial infarction (P=0.16). In women, hazard ratios suggested associations in all subgroups; however, for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke they were not statistically significant (P=0.09 and P=0.07, respectively). In addition, subgroup analyses stratified by age revealed a stronger relationship of GGT in younger participants. Hazard ratios for total CVD were 2.03 (1.53 to 2.69) in men and 2.60 (1.53 to 4.42) in women younger than 60 years.
Conclusions— This study demonstrates in a large, prospectively observed cohort that GGT is independently associated with cardiovascular mortality.
Received March 29, 2005; revision received June 23, 2005; accepted June 24, 2005.