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  1. Guruprasad P Aithal, JournalScan Editor

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The hazards of abnormal liver function tests in older people in and out of the liver…

▶ Fleming KM, West J, Aithal GP, et al. Abnormal liver tests in people aged 75 and above: prevalence and association with mortality. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2011;34:324–34.

Despite their widespread use, the occurrence and consequences of abnormal liver tests in older people remain unclear. Hence, UK researchers sought to estimate the prevalence and mortality associated with abnormal liver tests in people aged 75 years and above. They used a prospective cohort study on 13 276 people registered with general practices, with a valid measurement of one or more liver test, calculating the prevalence of abnormal aspartate transaminase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) or bilirubin. HRs were calculated for all-cause and cause-specific mortality comparing elderly patients with abnormal liver tests to elderly patients with normal liver tests.

At least one abnormal liver test was found in 2175 subjects (16%; 95% CI 15% to 17%). The prevalence of a single abnormal liver test was 3.3% (3.0% to 3.7%) for AST, 9.2% (8.8% to 9.7%) for ALP and 5.4% (5.1% to 5.9%) for bilirubin. Abnormal AST and ALP were associated with increased risks of all-cause mortality; adjusted HRs were 1.27 (1.09 to …

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