European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 165, Issue 11, pp 795–801

Significance of low or normal serum gamma glutamyl transferase level in infants with idiopathic neonatal hepatitis

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00431-006-0175-3

Cite this article as:
Wang, J.S., Tan, N. & Dhawan, A. Eur J Pediatr (2006) 165: 795. doi:10.1007/s00431-006-0175-3



We evaluated the significance of low/normal serum gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) level in infants with idiopathic neonatal hepatitis (INH).

Materials and methods

A retrospective review of the hospital records of 103 infants less than 3 months of age who were diagnosed with INH between August 1991 and November 2000 was performed. Variables including age at which jaundice was noticed, age at presentation, perinatal risk factors, family history of liver disease, parental consanguinity, initial ultrasound scan, liver biopsy, laboratory values at the first visit, the peak levels of total bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), GGT and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in the first 3 months of follow-up and interval for normalisation of serum bilirubin and AST were compared between infants presenting with low/normal GGT (≤100 U/L) and raised GGT (>100 U/L).

Results and discussion

Infants with low/normal GGT levels presented earlier (median 36.5 days versus 44 days; p=0.016) and had significantly higher bilirubin and AST levels at presentation (bilirubin 167.5 μmol/L versus 133 μmol/L; p<0.005 and AST 187.5 U/L versus 106 U/L; p<0.001) and at peak levels (bilirubin 170 μmol/L versus 146 μmol/L; p=0.024 and AST 210.5 U/L versus 129 U/L; p=0.001). A significant correlation was also found between GGT levels and serum albumin levels (p=0.004). Patients with low/normal GGT levels were more likely to have giant cell hepatitis on histology (p=0.015). There was no difference in time taken to recovery.


Low/normal levels of GGT in INH infants may be a predictor of more severe but recoverable disease.


Idiopathic neonatal hepatitis Gamma glutamyl transferase Conjugated hyperbilirubinaemia Prognosis Infants 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paediatric Liver CentreKing’s College HospitalLondonUK