Serum homocysteine and risk of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease in elderly men: a 10-year follow-up.

C.D.A. Stehouwer, M.P. Weijenberg, M. Berg, C. Jacobs, E. Feskens, D. Kromhout

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Abstract

Institute for Cardiovascular Research, Vrije Universiteit and the Department of Medicine Academisch Ziekenhuis Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. cda.stehouwer@azvu.nl

Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic disease in the middle-aged. We investigated whether a high serum homocysteine level is a risk factor for vascular disease in 878 elderly men (mean age at baseline, 71.5 years; range, 64 to 84 years) in a population-based, representative cohort followed up for 10 years in Zutphen, the Netherlands. Thirty-one percent had nonfasting homocysteine levels >/=17 micromol/L. After adjustment for other major risk factors, high homocysteine levels at baseline (the third compared with the first tertile) were associated with an increased baseline prevalence of myocardial infarction (odds ratio [OR], 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07 to 3.08; P for trend, 0.03) and with a marginally significant increase in the risk of dying of coronary heart disease (relative risk [RR], 1.58; 95% CI, 0.93 to 2.69; P for trend, 0.09) but not with an increased risk of first-ever myocardial infarction. In addition, high homocysteine levels at baseline were associated with an increased baseline prevalence of stroke (OR, 4.61; 95% CI, 1.79 to 11.89; P for trend, 0.002) and with an increased risk of dying of cerebrovascular disease in subjects without hypertension (RR, 6.18; 95% CI, 2.28 to 16.76) but not in those with hypertension. High homocysteine levels were associated with an increased risk of first-ever stroke among normotensive subjects that was not statistically significant (RR, 1. 77 [95% CI, 0.83 to 3.75; P for trend, 0.14]). In a general population of elderly men, a high homocysteine level is common and is strongly associated with the prevalence of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. It is a strong predictive factor for fatal cerebrovascular disease in men without hypertension but less so for coronary heart disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1895-1901
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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