High Serum Transaminase Activity in Heart Disease
Circulatory Failure and Hepatic Necrosis
A survey of all patients with very high serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase activity encountered during a 30-month period at The New York Hospital revealed 17 patients with cardiac disease who had 1 or more serum glutamic oxalacetic transaminase (SGOT) determinations exceeding 500 units. None had clinical evidence of primary liver or gallbladder disease. Eleven were admitted with acute myocardial infarction, 6 with severe heart failure. All 17 developed hypotension or shock and all but 1 right heart failure prior to high SGOT activity.
Several patients had abnormalities of liver function when SGOT activity was very high. In 4 there was an excessive increase in prothrombin time following administration of anticoagulants.
In the 8 patients who came to autopsy there was histologic evidence of acute hepatic central necrosis. In 4 there was necrosis of both heart and liver, in 4 necrosis of liver alone.
Clinical and autopsy data from a control series of patients with heart disease selected without regard for the level of SGOT activity corroborate the association between hypotension, central necrosis of the liver, and increased SGOT activity. Increase in venous pressure in the absence of hypotension was not associated with acute central necrosis or elevated SGOT activity.
It is concluded that very high SGOT activity (>500 units) in patients with heart disease is at least in part caused by acute hepatic central necrosis secondary to a drop in cardiac output and reduced hepatic blood flow. Caution is urged in the interpretation of increased blood activity of intracellular enzyme systems as evidence for myocardial necrosis. Acute circulatory changes may result in hepatic necrosis and increased blood enzyme activity without myocardial infarction.
- © 1960 American Heart Association, Inc.