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21-03-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Inflammation shows dose-dependent link to future CAD risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Circulating levels of inflammatory markers show a dose-dependent association with the 10-year risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), an analysis of US population data reveals.

Although unable to establish a causal relationship, the findings may support the use of anti-inflammatory medications in asymptomatic people at high risk for CAD, say the study authors.

Hee-Yeol Kim (The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul) and team analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a large representative sample of the US noninstitutionalized population.

The 6371 participants included in the present analysis were aged 40–79 years and were free of vascular disease and diabetes. Using the modified Framingham risk score, they were categorized according to their 10-year risk for CAD: low (n=2527), intermediate (n=3336), or high (n=508).

Kim’s team then looked for correlations between 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk and circulating levels of inflammatory markers.

They found that levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, homocysteine, and leukocytes all increased in a dose-dependent manner across the categories of CHD risk.

In addition, patients in the high-risk group had significantly higher levels of circulating fibrinogen, homocysteine, leukocytes, and platelets than those in the low-risk group.

After adjusting for age, gender, race, body mass index, and comorbidities, participants at high risk for CHD were 1.61 times more likely to have CRP levels of 2.2 mg/l or greater, and 1.41 times more likely to have CRP levels above 10 mg/l, than participants at low risk for CHD.

Writing in the American Journal of Cardiology, Kim’s team says that they found a “strong, independent, and dose-dependent” relationship between markers of systemic inflammation and estimated 10-year CHD risk.

“These results may justify the use of anti-inflammatory medications, such as statins, in the apparently healthy population at high risk for CAD,” they conclude.

“Prospective studies would be more likely to identify a putative causal relation between inflammatory markers and the degree of 10-year CAD risk.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Joanna Lyford