Biochemical liver profile in hemochromatosis. A survey of 100 patients

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1991 Jun;13(3):316-20. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199106000-00013.


To determine the frequency of liver profile abnormalities in hereditary hemochromatosis, we under took a retrospective survey in 100 patients, all of whom had undergone liver biopsy. Liver histology was compared with the biochemical profile, which included aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin and albumin determinations. Mild abnormalities in the AST and ALT levels were seen in more than 65% of patients. Patients with cirrhosis had significantly greater elevations in AST, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase, and a significant decrease in albumin (p less than 0.05). Proband cases had more frequent abnormalities than discovered cases within families. Accordingly, we find that mild abnormalities in the biochemical liver profile are common in hemochromatosis and suggest that patients with an unexplained abnormality in the liver profile should be screened for hemochromatosis with a serum ferritin and transferrin saturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hemochromatosis / complications
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics
  • Hemochromatosis / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serum Albumin / analysis


  • Serum Albumin
  • Iron
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Bilirubin