Assessment of plasma homocysteine levels in shift healthcare workers
AbstractBackground. Previous studies have indicated an association between shift work and cardiovascular disease. Increased plasma homocysteine levels has been proposed as a cardiovascular risk factor independent of other conventional risk factors. Aims. Our aim is to verify the usefulness of plasma homocysteine as a screening test to prevent cardiovascular diseases in shift workers. Methods. Thirty rotating shift nurses and 28 daytime nurses have been submitted during 18 months to regular taking of arterial pressure and body weight. Venous blood was drawn to measure glycaemia, triglycerides, plasma cortisol level, HDL cholesterol, blood cell count, alanine-aminotransferase, aspartate- aminotransferasi, Î³-GT, and plasma homocysteine. Results. No increase in average plasma homocysteine in rotating shift nurses, nor a higher frequency in hyperomocisteinemia than in daytime workers was found. A significant difference was observed in body weight and systolic blood pressure (p<0.05), which resulted higher in rotating shift workers than in daytime workers. A significant increase was observed in alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) among shift workers (p<0.05). Conclusions. Plasma homocysteine measurement should not be employed as a screening test for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in rotating shift workers.
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