C-reactive protein predicts death in patients with previous premature myocardial infarction—A 10 year follow-up study


      Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, is associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). We measured CRP in a cohort of 247 patients (193 males and 54 females) who had had their first myocardial infarction (MI) at age ≤55 (males) or ≤60 (females). The cut-off values of the 25th, 50th and 75th centiles of CRP were 1.20, 2.37 and 4.20 mg/l. After 10 years, a total of 44 patients (17.8%) had died, 36 (81.8%) of cardiac causes. Unadjusted and adjusted (i.e. for age, ejection fraction (EF), serum total cholesterol (TC), fibrinogen, smoking and hypertension) relative risks (RRs) for total and cardiac mortality were generated. CRP was a strong predictor of death of all causes due to its strength as predictor of cardiac death. The RR of cardiac death was doubled with increasing CRP quartiles, and patients in the top quartile had six times as high risk of cardiac death as patients in the lowest quartile. The RRs were moderately attenuated after adjustment, but still significant. We conclude that CRP is a strong predictor of mortality in patients with premature MI. Thus, inflammation appears to be a critical prognostic factor in patients with previous premature MI.


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