© 2014 European Society of Cardiology. Background Excessive alcohol intake is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and predicts cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. We determined which alcohol marker (self-reported alcohol intake, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) or percentage carbohydrate deficient transferrin (%CDT)) relates best with mortality and predicts hypertension development over five years in black South Africans. Design This was a longitudinal study as part of the PURE (Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology) study in the North West Province, South Africa. Method We included 2010 participants and followed 1471 participants. Over five years, 230 deaths occurred, of which 66 were cardiovascular-related. At enrolment, participants completed questionnaires on alcohol intake (yes, for former and current use; no, for alcohol never used). We measured blood pressure, collected blood samples and measured GGT and %CDT. Results When comparing hazard ratios (HRs) of self-report, GGT and %CDT, we found that only GGT predicted cardiovascular (HR = 2.76 (1.49-5.12)) and all-cause mortality (HR = 2.47 (1.75-3.47)) and hypertension development ((HR = 1.31 (1.06-1.62)). Participants self-reporting yes for alcohol intake had a 30% increased risk of developing hypertension (HR = 1.30 (1.07-1.60)) but not an increased risk for mortality. When adding both GGT and self-report in the prediction model for hypertension, only self-reporting of alcohol was significant (HR = 1.24 (1.01-1.53)). The alcohol marker, %CDT, did not show any significant association with mortality or hypertension development. Conclusion GGT independently predicted cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, as well as hypertension development in black South Africans. Despite non-specificity to excessive alcohol consumption, GGT may be a useful general marker for hypertension development and mortality, also due to its significant association with self-reported alcohol intake.
- cardiovascular disease
- percentage carbohydrate deficient transferrin
- self-reported alcohol intake
- sub-Saharan Africa