A few weeks ago I had my LFT test; unfortunately they forgot to do the GGT, which was the only one result that was out of normal range. I was called back for a GGT test only and while looking for the result, I found some other results from back in 2006; these had been added to my patient record due to a change in the records policy at my GP.
At the time of the tests, I was experiencing severe back pain that was eventually diagnosed as a gall bladder infection. At my consultation with the Doctor, I specifically asked for liver tests as I was regularly drinking above guidance limits and the symptoms I was experiencing appeared similar to those of pancreatitis.
The practice notes at the time gave GGT as 166 (the normal maximum is 61) which was accompanied by the note “Abnormal, speak to Doctor”. I did speak and a raft of other tests were ordered, but the high GGT was not mentioned; I was told the liver was fine. I had further tests over the next few months; the GGT was lowered, but this could have been due to stopping drinking over this time.
In October 2012 I was invited in for a health check. Again, I specifically mentioned that I habitually exceeded guidance levels on alcohol, but no further tests were done. The questionnaire decided that I was quite a fit individual and the advice given by the nurse was that “everything is OK, just carry on doing what you are doing”.
At the time of my AF diagnosis, I was subjected to many tests including liver function. This was the first time I had been able to see the results and was very pleased to see that the majority were exceptionally good; as a cyclist I was particularly happy with the haemoglobin and haematocrit being practically at maximum. The one outlier was GGT at 217.
The doctor was unconcerned, but I researched this and realised that high GGT with no other issues was generally related to alcohol. I severely restricted my drinking, following government guidelines on units. After a year of minimal drinking the level had dropped to 112. At this point, I had the first ablation and stopped drinking completely.
After another year, the reading was still at 71. I resumed drinking, within government guidelines (with a few more lapses than intended) and am now still hovering between 60 and 70, the replacement for the forgotten test being 69.
I am not convinced that this is 100% OK, but all the medical profession seem quite happy with it. I may be able to reduce it by another 10 by complete abstinence, but there is no guarantee of this. I enjoy my glass of alcohol, so I will continue in moderation.