Transferrin, Carbohydrate-deficient (Alcohol Use)

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin, CDT, Transferrin Carbohydratedeficient Alcohol Use

% CDt



*Important Information on Lab Test Processing Times: Ulta Lab Tests is committed to informing you about the processing times for your lab tests processed through Quest Diagnostics. Please note that the estimated processing time for each test, indicated in business days, is based on data from the past 30 days across the 13 Quest Diagnostics laboratories for each test. These estimates are intended to serve as a guide and are not guarantees. Factors such as laboratory workload, weather conditions, holidays, and the need for additional testing or maintenance can influence actual processing times. We aim to offer estimates to help you plan accordingly. Please understand that these times may vary, and processing times are not guaranteed. Thank you for choosing Ulta Lab Tests for your laboratory needs.

The Transferrin, Carbohydrate-deficient (Alcohol Use) test contains 1 test with 3 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test is a laboratory assay designed to measure the level of carbohydrate-deficient transferrin in the bloodstream. Transferrin is a protein that transports iron in the blood. The amount of carbohydrate chains attached to transferrin can vary, and when there's a higher level of transferrin with deficient carbohydrate chains, it may indicate heavy alcohol consumption.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting preferred

When and Why a Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Test May Be Ordered

A CDT test might be ordered:

  • Monitoring Chronic Alcohol Use: It is considered one of the most specific markers for chronic alcohol consumption and may be more sensitive than other traditional markers such as gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) for detecting heavy alcohol use.

  • Screening in Occupational Settings: Some professional fields may require regular monitoring for alcohol use as a condition of employment, especially for roles where safety is paramount, such as airline pilots or heavy machinery operators.

  • Evaluating Cases of Liver Diseases: In circumstances where it's essential to differentiate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic causes of liver disease.

What the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Test Checks For

The Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin test checks for the presence and levels of transferrin molecules that have a reduced number of carbohydrate molecules attached to them. Elevated CDT levels are an indication of chronic alcohol consumption.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Test

When a CDT test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of alcohol use and its potential health impacts. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT):

    • Purpose: To measure the level of GGT, an enzyme that can be elevated in heavy alcohol users.
    • Why Is It Ordered: GGT is sensitive to liver damage, including that caused by alcohol, and is often used in conjunction with CDT to assess alcohol use.
  2. Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) and Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT):

    • Purpose: To measure liver enzymes AST and ALT.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Elevated levels of these enzymes can indicate liver damage, which may be related to chronic alcohol consumption.
  3. Liver Function Tests:

    • Purpose: To assess the health of the liver.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate overall liver function and detect potential damage from alcohol use, including measurements of bilirubin and albumin.
  4. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To check for anemia or other hematological abnormalities that can be associated with chronic alcohol use.
  5. Lipid Profile:

    • Purpose: To measure levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Alcohol can affect lipid metabolism, and changes in lipid profile can be associated with chronic alcohol use.
  6. Uric Acid:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of uric acid in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Chronic alcohol use can influence uric acid levels and contribute to conditions like gout.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin test, provide a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of chronic alcohol consumption on the body, particularly the liver. They are crucial for assessing the extent of alcohol use, diagnosing alcohol-related health issues, and guiding treatment decisions. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s symptoms, clinical presentation, and medical history.

Conditions or Diseases that Require a Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Test

The primary condition for which a CDT test is ordered is:

  • Chronic Alcohol Abuse: CDT levels can indicate excessive alcohol intake over extended periods, typically reflecting intake over the previous two weeks.

Usage of Results from Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin Test by Health Care Providers

Healthcare providers use the results of the CDT test to:

  • Identify Chronic Alcohol Consumption: Elevated CDT levels can suggest heavy drinking, even if a patient denies alcohol misuse.

  • Monitor Alcohol Abstinence: In scenarios where an individual has been advised to stop or reduce alcohol consumption, a CDT test can help monitor compliance.

  • Distinguish Between Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Liver Diseases: CDT, in combination with other tests, can aid in diagnosing the cause of liver dysfunction.

  • Make Informed Decisions in Occupational Health Scenarios: Employers may use the results to ensure workplace safety by confirming that employees in safety-sensitive roles aren't chronically consuming alcohol.

In summary, the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin test is a valuable tool in detecting and monitoring chronic alcohol consumption, differentiating the cause of liver diseases, and ensuring safety in occupational settings.

Most Common Questions About the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications for the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) Test

What is the primary aim of the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test?

The Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test is primarily used to detect chronic alcohol consumption. Elevated levels of CDT in the blood can indicate heavy alcohol consumption over the past two weeks.

Why might a physician order the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test for a patient?

Physicians may order the CDT test to either confirm or refute suspicions of chronic heavy alcohol consumption. It is especially valuable when assessing individuals in certain professional roles where sobriety is crucial, or when monitoring alcohol abstinence in patients undergoing treatment for alcoholism.

Interpretation of Results

How are the results of the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test interpreted?

Results are usually presented as a percentage. A higher percentage of CDT indicates heavy alcohol consumption. While the exact cut-off value can vary between labs, generally, values above 2.6% are considered elevated and suggestive of heavy alcohol consumption.

Implications and Medical Management

What actions might be taken if the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test shows elevated levels?

If the CDT test reveals elevated levels, it might suggest the need for further evaluation and possibly an intervention. Medical professionals might discuss the health risks of heavy alcohol consumption with the patient, suggest alcohol cessation programs, or refer the patient to addiction specialists.

Test Specifics

What makes the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test different from other alcohol tests, like blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or liver function tests?

The CDT test specifically measures the effect of chronic alcohol consumption on the transferrin molecule, whereas the BAC measures the current level of alcohol in the bloodstream, making it a short-term indicator. Liver function tests, on the other hand, assess the health of the liver and can be affected by various factors besides alcohol. Thus, while both BAC and liver function tests provide valuable information, the CDT test is more specific to prolonged heavy alcohol consumption.

How does the body produce Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT)?

Chronic alcohol consumption affects the way the liver processes and glycosylates transferrin, leading to a higher proportion of the molecule lacking one or both of its carbohydrate units. This variant of transferrin is what's detected in the CDT test.

Are there conditions or factors other than alcohol that might influence the results of the Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test?

Yes, certain liver diseases, genetic factors, or other conditions can cause elevated CDT levels even without alcohol consumption. Thus, while the test is a reliable indicator of heavy drinking, elevated levels should always be interpreted in the broader context of the individual's health and other clinical findings.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Customer Reviews