Q. Do elevated GGT levels indicate liver failure?

Answered by
Dr. Kapil Gupta
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 21, 2020

Hello doctor,

I got my blood test results showing a GGT of 92. I know it is high because of alcohol, but I do not know what it means to me. Should I go to the hospital immediately? Is it an impending liver failure in weeks, months, or years? Would this mean I am already showing evident signs of problems?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand that you have doubts regarding GGT (gamma glutaryl transferase) enzyme values. Let me first explain to you a little about the enzyme. GGT is an enzyme found in cell membranes of many tissues, mainly in the liver, kidney, and pancreas.

GGT levels can be raised due to two types of problems:

1) Problems occurring in your hepatobiliary system, i.e., the liver, gallbladder, and the surrounding structures like hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease.

2) Problems outside your hepatobiliary system like pancreatitis, SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), etc.

Suppose GGT is the only test that is abnormal/elevated. It will not be really helpful as it will just tell that you have consumed alcohol in the last month. In contrast, GGT interpretation when other tests such as liver function tests are available will give a better idea about the problem.

So I will ask you the following questions before coming to a diagnosis:

How long have you been consuming alcohol? What was the reason for you getting the GGT test? Do you have any liver failure symptoms like yellowish discoloration of eyes, swelling of feet, swelling of the abdomen, increased facial hair, menstrual abnormalities, and easy skin bruising? Do you have any other illnesses in the past?

Also, I would suggest you do the following tests, or if done already, please share the reports:

1. Liver function tests, including alkaline phosphatase.

2. Renal function tests.

3. PT (prothrombin time)/INR.

4. Ultrasound of abdomen.

Once you give me the answers and the test reports, I will help you out further.

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