Background: Hepatic steatosis is the result of accumulation of triglycerides in the liver cells. It is one of the most common liver diseases in the general population. Fatty liver is usually diagnosed in asymptomatic individuals with detected elevated serum transaminase levels. This study was done to correlate the liver transaminase levels with the sonographic degree of hepatic steatosis among Filipino adults seen at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).
Methods: A total of 60 subjects were included in the study based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two radiologists evaluated the liver sonogram images and graded them as normal, mild, moderate or severe steatosis. Philips IU22 sonogram machine set at a 50% gain setting was used to attain the images. The serum liver transaminase levels were obtained within the same month of the ultrasound examinations.
Results: Of the 60 patients, four were noted to be of normal hepatic parenchyma and the rest of the 56 subjects had different degrees of hepatic steatosis. The demographic profile of the patients showed that all the baseline characteristics were comparable save for the gender. Majority of the male patients had either normal liver parenchyma 3 (75%) or moderate 16 (76.2%) and severe steatosis 3 (100%). 21 (65.6%) of the 27 female patients had mild fatty infiltration while none of them was diagnosed with severe steatosis. Patients with normal liver parenchyma had 63.3 ± 31.7 AST (SGOT) levels, while those with hepatic steatosis had 62.4 ± 119.0 (r=0.0886; p=0.5). Patients with normal liver parenchyma had 60 ± 12.4 ALT (SGPT) levels, while those with hepatic steatosis had 90.6 ± 259.2 (r=0.0762; p=0.563).
Conclusion: There was no significant correlation between the AST (SGOT) and ALT (SGPT) with the severity of hepatic steatosis. There was no significant difference noted in the AST (SGOT) levels of patients with normal parenchyma as compared with those with hepatic steatosis. There was a clinical difference in the ALT (SGPT) levels of normal subjects and those with hepatic steatosis, however it was not inferentially significant which may due to small sample size. There was a weak direct correlation between the serum transaminase levels and hepatic steatosis.