Serum dioxin and hepatic abnormalities in veterans of Operation Ranch Hand

Joel E. Michalek, Norma S. Ketchum, Matthew P. Longnecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: We studied hepatic abnormalities and indices of hepatic function in relation to exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (dioxin) in veterans of Operation Ranch Hand, the Air Force unit responsible for the aerial spraying of herbicides in Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. METHODS: The prevalence of ever having liver disease through March 1993, and level of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT), lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase, and total bilirubin were examined according to serum dioxin levels. RESULTS: We found an increased risk of 'other liver disorders' among veterans with the highest dioxin levels [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2 to 2.1], due primarily to increased transaminases or LDH (adjusted OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.4 to 5.1) and to other nonspecific liver abnormalities (adjusted OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.0). CONCLUSIONS: Whether the associations observed were causal is unclear from these data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Agent Orange
  • Dioxin
  • Hepatic abnormality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Serum dioxin and hepatic abnormalities in veterans of Operation Ranch Hand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this