Re: high ast and alt doctor is stumped
I'm not a doctor, but my wife had an aortic valve (artificial) put in many moons ago...
I remember when researching the advantages and disadvantages of artificial vs porcine valves, one of the disadvantages with artificial valves is that they rupture red blood cells as the little doors of the valve slam shut against the frame of the valve. A process known as hemolysis.
These ruptured blood cells spill their contents (a substantial portion if which is iron) into plasma, and your body then recycles this material back into new blood cells.
One area of interest I am currently studying is the role of iron in liver disease. Iron is a powerful pro-oxidant and is associated with liver inflammation in a number of disease processes. I have read how hemolysis can cause problems with high iron, and thought of this when I saw your post. I haven't looked into whether this is a known issue with artificial heart valves or not, but I thought you might want to look into this.
You might request a "full iron study" with your next blood work to rule this out as a possible contributing cause to your high liver numbers. Iron studies are very cheap blood labs and your doctor shouldn't object to this.
From what I've read, high iron is most problematic in the liver when combined with high intake of polyunsaturated fats and oils (margarine, fish oil, vegetable oils, deep fried food, etc), where iron acts as a catalyst for lipid peroxidation of these polyunsaturated fats.
When you get the results from your iron study, pay attention to "ferritin" as the upper limits for "normal" are set quite high. Usually around 200 to 400 depending on the lab. Your doctor may consider ferritin in the upper third of the normal range as nothing to worry about, but many believe "optimal" levels for ferritin to be in the lower half of the normal range, with 40 to 80 often stated as desirable, and ferritin over 150 as unhealthy, particularly when dealing with liver inflammation that can not be explained by other means. Google around on: Iron, too much of a good thing, for more on this.
High iron is very easy to fix with "therapeutic phlebotomy" or dietary measures, so if iron is your problem, this could be a good thing.
For fatty liver, especially with a diet high in polyunsaturated vegetable and seed oils, vitamin-E has been found to reduce inflammation, including that caused by high iron. Google around on: fatty liver and vitamin-E for more on this.
Best of Luck to you, and stay healthy!
Last edited by BillinSD; 08-31-2012 at 09:11 PM.