Ten-Year Mortality from Cardiovascular Disease in Relation to Cholesterol Level among Men with and without Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease

Juha Pekkanen, Shai Linn, Gerardo Heiss, Chirayath M. Suchindran, Arthur S Leon, Basil M. Rifkind, Herman A. Tyroler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

To determine the associations of total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol with mortality from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, we studied 2541 white men who were 40 to 69 years old at base line and followed them for an average of 10.1 years. Seventeen percent had some manifestation of cardiovascular disease at base line, whereas the others did not. Among the men who had cardiovascular disease at base line, we found, after multivariate adjustment, that those with “high” blood cholesterol levels (above 6.19 mmol per liter) had a risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, that was 3.45 times higher (95 percent confidence interval, 1.63 to 7.33) than that for men with “desirable” blood cholesterol levels (below 5.16 mmol per liter). The corresponding hazard ratios were 5.92 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.59 to 13.51) for LDL cholesterol levels above 4.13 mmol per liter as compared with those below 3.35 mmol per liter, and 6.02 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.73 to 13.28) for HDL cholesterol levels below 0.90 mmol per liter as compared with those above 1.16 mmol per liter. All three lipid levels were also significant predictors of death from coronary heart disease alone (P<0.005). Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were also significant predictors of death from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease in men without preexisting cardiovascular disease, although at a lower level of absolute risk of death. Thus, the 10-year risk of death from cardiovascular disease for a man with preexisting cardiovascular disease increased from 3.8 percent to almost 19.6 percent with increasing levels of total cholesterol from “desirable” to “high,” whereas the corresponding risk for a man who was free of cardiovascular disease at base line increased from 1.7 percent to 4.9 percent. Our findings suggest that total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels predict subsequent mortality in men 40 to 69 years of age, especially those with preexisting cardiovascular disease. THE importance of blood lipid levels as risk factors for coronary heart disease is well established.1,2 It is uncertain, however, whether their importance applies to men who already have signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease. In such men, the extent of damage to the myocardium is a powerful prognostic factor,3,4 which may have diverted attention from other, modifiable factors, such as blood lipid levels. Only limited information is available on the association of serum cholesterol levels, especially the lipoprotein cholesterol levels, with mortality from cardiovascular disease among men with preexisting heart disease. However, published reports support the importance of serum…

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1700-1707
Number of pages8
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume322
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 14 1990

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