Objective: The relationship between γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and heart failure (HF) in older adults is unknown. We have examined the relationship between GGT, other markers of hepatic function (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate transaminase, and alkaline phosphatase), and incident HF in older men.
Methods and results: This was a prospective study of 3494 men aged 60 to 79 years with no diagnosed HF or myocardial infarction followed up for a mean period of 9 years, in whom there were 168 incident HF cases. Elevated GGT (top quartile, ≥38 U/L) was associated with significantly increased risk of incident HF in men aged<70 years but not in men aged≥70 years (test for age-GGT interaction, P<0.0001). The increased risk of HF associated with elevated GGT persisted after adjustment for a wide range of established and novel risk factors for HF, including diabetes, stroke, obesity, systolic blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, lung function, inflammation (C-reactive protein), endothelial dysfunction (von Willebrand factor), leptin, and N terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (adjusted hazard ratio [95% CI], 1.91 [1.07, 3.42]). Other liver function markers showed no significant associations with HF after similar adjustments.
Conclusion: Elevated GGT was associated with increased risk of HF in men aged<70 years. Additional studies are now needed to determine the mechanisms responsible.