Association between serum gamma-glutamyltransferase and cardiovascular mortality varies by age: The Minnesota Heart Survey

Duk Hee Lee, Brian Buijsse, Lyn Steffen, Jordan Holtzman, Russell Luepker, David R. Jacobs

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49 Scopus citations


Although serum γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) predicted cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in prospective studies and may be useful in risk assessment, prediction in older adults was weaker in several studies. We performed a nested case-control study with 5-12-year follow-up in 137 CVD deaths and 249 controls (frequency-matched on age, sex, and examination year, age range 26-85 years). An age interaction of serum GGT and CVD mortality (P value for interaction = 0.02) was observed. After adjusting for known CVD risk factors, compared with the lowest tertile, odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) in participants less than 70 years (half the participants) were: middle tertile: 2.17 (0.68-6.97), top tertile up to GGT less than 50 U/I: 3.54 (1.07-11.7), and GGT ≥ 50 U/l: 4.69 (1.16-18.9). In participants aged more than or equal to 70 years, GGT was not related to CVD. Well-known demographic and health behavior associations with serum GGT were observed only in controls among participants aged less than 70 years. Our findings suggest that serum GGT within its normal range can predict CVD mortality in those aged less than 70 years, but may have limited usefulness for risk assessment in older adults. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Conflict of interest: none of the authors have any financial interests besides research funding. The research reported in this publication was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. (RO1-HL23727), the Mayo Chair Endowment, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota (DJ), and The Netherlands Heart Foundation (grant 2005R013, BB).


  • aging
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • risk assessment
  • serum gamma glutamyltransferase


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