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25-05-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Metabolic syndrome MI risk not greater than its constituent parts


Free abstract

MedWire News: The metabolic syndrome does not confer a greater risk for myocardial infarction (MI) than its component parts, research suggests.

Nonetheless, the extended findings from the 52-country INTERHEART study did show that the metabolic syndrome was a significant risk factor for acute MI. (just because MS is a very common and recognizable abbreviation for multiple sclerosis)

The metabolic syndrome is a term used for a common clustering of metabolic abnormalities, including abdominal obesity, elevated glucose, abnormal lipids, and elevated blood pressure, explain the researchers.

Noting that its value has been called into question, they examined the risk of MI conferred by the metabolic syndrome and its individual factors among 26,903 participants in the case-control INTERHEART study.

The metabolic syndrome, classified using both criteria from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), was associated with an increased risk for MI, with odds ratios (ORs) of 2.69 and 2.20, respectively.

The corresponding population attributable risks (PARs) were 14.5% and 16.8%, and associations were in a similar direction for all regions and ethnic groups studied.

The risk for MI associated with the metabolic syndrome using the WHO definition was similar to that associated with diabetes and hypertension, which had ORs of 2.72 and 2.60, but was greater than that associated with other metabolic syndrome components.

Clustering of at least three risk factors defined using cutoff values at or just below the thresholds was associated with an increased risk for MI compared with component factors at “normal” values.

Results were similar using the IDF criteria for the metabolic syndrome, note Sonia Anand (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) and colleagues.

Reporting in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, they conclude: “The risk of MI associated with the metabolic syndrome does not appear to be greater than the risk conferred by its component factors.

“The use of dichotomous risk factors may underestimate risk among persons with subthreshold values and further limit the usefulness of the metabolic syndrome classification to predict MI 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 Anita Wilkinson