Assessing the prevalence of alcohol consumption in early pregnancy using blood biomarker analysis: a consistent pattern across north-east England?

Helen Howlett, Shonag Mackenzie, William Keith Gray, Judith Rankin, Leanne Nixon, Nigel William Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We previously investigated the prevalence of alcohol consumption in early pregnancy in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, a locality of north-east England. The prevalence was 1.4% based on blood sample biomarker analysis using carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) and 3.5% for gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT). Aims: To supplement this research by investigating the prevalence of alcohol use using identical methods in a different locality of the same region. Methods: Six-hundred random blood samples taken at the antenatal booking appointment were anonymously analysed for the presence of CDT, a validated marker of chronic alcohol exposure (normalizing 2-3 weeks from abstinence) and GGT, a liver enzyme elevated for up to 8 weeks after alcohol exposure. Results: The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust data revealed a CDT prevalence rate of 1.7% (95% CI: 0.7-2.9) and GGT prevalence rate of 4.2% (95% CI: 2.6-5.9). However, these measures are not sensitive to low levels of alcohol; and no overlapping cases were identified or a significant correlation demonstrated between CDT or GGT. Discussion: These data support our earlier work. Prevalence rates according to CDT and GGT analysis were similar in both areas, suggesting similar patterns of sustained alcohol use in pregnancy across the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E75-E81
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume42
Issue number1
Early online date26 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

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