To find out if the presence of the metabolic syndrome increases the risk of subsequent total and cardiovascular mortality, taking into account established risk factors for cardiovascular disease.Design
Prospective cohort study.Setting
A community based sample of 2322 men followed since 1970 for a maximum of 32.7 years, investigated at ages 50 and 70.Main outcome measures
The relations of the metabolic syndrome defined by the national cholesterol education programme (NCEP) of the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute or criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO) to subsequent total and cardiovascular mortality.Results
When adding the metabolic syndrome to models with established risk factors for cardiovascular disease (smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and serum cholesterol) at age 50, presence of the metabolic syndrome as defined in the NCEP significantly predicted total and cardiovascular mortality (Cox proportional hazard ratios 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.17 to 1.58; and 1.59, 1.29 to 1.95, respectively). The metabolic syndrome added prognostic information to that of the established risk factors for cardiovascular disease (likelihood ratio tests, P < 0.0001 for both outcomes). Similar results were obtained in a subsample without diabetes or manifest cardiovascular disease.Conclusions
In a large, community based sample of middle aged men, the presence of the metabolic syndrome according to the definition of the NCEP gave long term prognostic information regarding total and cardiovascular mortality if the status of established risk factors for cardiovascular disease was known. If confirmed this may indicate clinical value in diagnosing the metabolic syndrome.