Triglyceride Level Can Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Events

But link largely disappears in heart disease patients when other variables are included
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Even slightly increased triglyceride levels are associated with a higher risk of recurring cardiovascular events in heart disease patients treated with statins, though that link is diminished when other variables are considered, according to a study in the Aug. 15 American Journal of Cardiology.

Ole Faergeman, M.D., of Arhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues used data from the Incremental Decrease in End Points through Aggressive Lipid Lowering (IDEAL) and Treating to New Targets (TNT) trials to determine the ability of in-trial measurements of triglycerides to predict new cardiovascular events. The trials compared 80 mg/day of atorvastatin with moderate-dose statin therapy in patients with a history of myocardial infarction or clinically evident coronary heart disease.

The researchers found higher levels of triglycerides were associated with higher risks of cardiovascular events. Patients in the highest quintile for triglycerides had a 63 percent higher rate of cardiovascular events than those in the lowest. The relationship between triglycerides and risk was evident even in the normal range of triglycerides. The ability of triglyceride level to predict risk was abolished when other variables (diabetes, body mass index, glucose, hypertension and smoking) were included.

"The main finding of this post hoc analysis of data from two large trials of statin-treated patients was that measurements of plasma triglycerides allow us to differentiate between levels of risk of recurrence of cardiovascular events," the authors write. "The relation of triglyceride to cardiovascular risk largely disappeared when we took other variables into account."

The IDEAL and TNT studies were sponsored by Pfizer.

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