Elevated remnant cholesterol increases the risk of peripheral artery disease, myocardial infarction, and ischaemic stroke: a cohort-based study

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Eur Heart J. 2021 Oct 18:ehab705. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehab705. Online ahead of print.


AIMS : The atherogenic potential of cholesterol in triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, also called remnant cholesterol, is being increasingly acknowledged. Elevated remnant cholesterol is associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction and ischaemic stroke. We tested the hypothesis that elevated remnant cholesterol is also associated with increased risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

METHODS AND RESULTS : We studied 106 937 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study recruited in 2003-15. During up to 15 years of follow-up, 1586 were diagnosed with PAD, 2570 with myocardial infarction, and 2762 with ischaemic stroke. We also studied 13 974 individuals from the Copenhagen City Heart Study recruited in 1976-78. During up to 43 years of follow-up, 1033 were diagnosed with PAD, 2236 with myocardial infarction, and 1976 with ischaemic stroke. Remnant cholesterol was calculated from a standard lipid profile. Diagnoses were from Danish nationwide health registries. In the Copenhagen General Population Study, elevated remnant cholesterol levels were associated with higher risk of PAD, up to a multivariable adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 4.8 (95% confidence interval 3.1-7.5) for individuals with levels ≥1.5 mmol/L (58 mg/dL) vs. <0.5 mmol/L (19 mg/dL). Corresponding results were 4.2 (2.9-6.1) for myocardial infarction and 1.8 (1.4-2.5) for ischaemic stroke. In the Copenhagen City Heart Study, corresponding HRs were 4.9 (2.9-8.5) for PAD, 2.6 (1.8-3.8) for myocardial infarction, and 2.1 (1.5-3.1) for ischaemic stroke.

CONCLUSION : Elevated remnant cholesterol is associated with a five-fold increased risk of PAD in the general population, higher than for myocardial infarction and ischaemic stroke.

PMID:34661640 | DOI:10.1093/eurheartj/ehab705