The predictive value of transaminases at admission in patients hospitalized for heart failure: Findings from the RO-AHFS registry

Andrew P. Ambrosy, Mihai Gheorghiade, Serban Bubenek, Dragos Vinereanu, Muthiah Vaduganathan, Cezar Macarie, Ovidiu Chioncel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Transaminases are commonly elevated in both the inpatient and ambulatory settings in heart failure (HF). To determine the prevalence and degree of elevated transaminase levels at admission and to evaluate the association between transaminase levels and in-hospital morbidity and mortality. Over a 12-month period, the Romanian Acute Heart Failure Syndromes (RO-AHFS) registry enrolled consecutive patients hospitalized for HF at 13 medical centres. A post-hoc analysis of the 489 patients (15.2%) with alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) (upper limits of normal 31 IU/l and 32 IU/l, respectively) measured at baseline was performed. In-hospital mortality was compared across quartiles using multivariable Cox regression models. The prevalences of elevated ALT and AST were 28% and 24% and the medians (interquartile range) were 22 (16–47) and 23 (16–37 IU/L). Patients with elevated transaminases more commonly had right HF, cardiogenic shock, or an ejection fraction <45%. Patients with an ALT in the highest quartile were more likely to present with hypotension and a low pulse pressure, to have electrocardiographic evidence of left ventricular dyssynchrony and echocardiographic findings including increased left ventricular dimensions, reduced left ventricular ejection fraction, and valvular heart disease, to require inotropic or vasopressor support during hospitalization, and to report lower β-blocker and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor utilization. After adjusting for potential confounders, ALT was directly associated with BUN increases ≥10 mg/dl, necessity for intensive care unit admission, and longer length of stay. Patients in the highest quartile of ALT experienced significantly higher rates of all-cause mortality. In patients hospitalized for HF, there is a graded relationship between admission transaminase levels and surrogates for in-hospital morbidity, while more pronounced elevations of ALT predict in-hospital mortality independent of known prognostic indicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Alanine transaminase
  • aspartate transaminase
  • hospitalization
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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