OBJECTIVE: We analyze a large population of patients to determine whether gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels are increased in sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSA) and whether these levels are related to clinical characteristics or polygraphic indexes.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study in a population of 1744 patients referred for OSA suspicion was conducted. The following variables were determined: glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, aspartate aminotransferase (GOT), alanine aminotransferase (GPT), GGT, body mass index, waist-hip ratio (WHR), and overnight sleep study.
RESULTS: The 483 patients with GGT ≥40 IU/l were younger and more obese, and had a pattern of more centrally distributed fat than the 1261 with GGT <40 IU/l. Patients with high levels of GGT also consumed more alcohol, had a poorer biochemical profile, and had more respiratory and oximetric alterations during sleep. GGT levels were significantly correlated with AHI, DI, and CT90. In the binary regression test, WHR, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and grams of alcohol consumed per day predicted GGT levels ≥40 IU/l, while none of the polygraphic variables had predictive value.
CONCLUSIONS: High GGT levels were associated with the severity of OSA. However, this relationship seems to be due to the coexistence of other associated factors, mainly central obesity, rather than to the respiratory disorders found in this disease.