Randomized trial to evaluate the clinical benefits of serum alpha-glutathione S-transferase concentration monitoring after liver transplantation.
Hughes VF., Trull AK., Gimson A., Friend PJ., Jamieson N., Duncan A., Wight DG., Prevost AT., Alexander GJ.
BACKGROUND: An increase in serum alpha-glutathione S-transferase concentration (GST) has been shown to be a more sensitive and specific marker of hepatocellular damage than equivalent increases in transaminase activities. A randomized clinical trial of 60 liver transplants in 49 patients was carried out to assess the clinical benefits of GST monitoring as a supplementary test to routine liver function tests during the first 3 postoperative months after liver transplantation. METHODS: Mortality and morbidity were compared in graft recipients who had their GST reported daily to the ward (reporting group) and graft recipients who did not. RESULTS: The 3-month survival rate was significantly greater in the reporting group (P=0.033) and the risk of graft loss was halved (relative hazard ratio=0.50; P=0.29). The reporting group also had significantly more patients who spent less than 3 weeks in the hospital throughout the follow-up period (P=0.036). In addition, the reporting group experienced a lower frequency of biopsies per graft (P=0.038), less severe rejection (P=0.015), and a lower incidence of infection episodes per graft (P=0.03). GST increased by >50% above the upper limit of the reference range at a median of 1 day before the equivalent change in alanine transaminase in association with allograft rejection in the combined groups (95% confidence interval=1 to 2 days) but was lower on the day of diagnosis of rejection in the reporting group (P=0.02). This is compatible with the earlier diagnosis of rejection in the reporting group. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the monitoring of GST may improve patient care, reducing both mortality and morbidity.