Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) elevation in asymptomatic US air force basic trainee blood donors

Leon W. Kundrotas, Donald J. Clement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the etiology of elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in a population of asymptomatic volunteer blood donors. Subjects with an ALT value >2.25 sd above norm (>55 IU/liter) from the donated unit, were prospectively evaluated over a six-week interval. The subjects consisted of blood donors (78% male, 22% female) beginning basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base. Of 44,160 individuals screened, 19,877 (45%) voluntarily donated blood, 99 (0.5%) of which had confirmed ALT elevation. Of these (90 male/9 female), an associated condition or explanation was made in 12%: four with acute hepatitis B, four positive for anti-HCV, two with autoimmune disease, one with cholelithiasis and one associated with acute appendicitis. In 87 the ALT elevation could not be explained using available testing methods but may represent individual variation from a non-Gaussian distribution, be of nonhepatic origin (muscle), or of hepatic disease not detected by the diagnostic algorithm used. To increase the diagnostic yield, it is suggested that at least two elevated ALT values be established in this population over a period of time (yet undefined), before an extensive hepatic investigation is pursued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2145-2150
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • alanine aminotransferase
  • basic military training
  • blood donors
  • hepatitis viruses
  • hepatitis, viral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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