Serum Albumin, Coronary Heart Disease Risk, and Mortality in an Elderly Cohort

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We investigated associations of serum albumin with the incidence and mortality of coronary heart disease among men from the Zutphen Elderly Study. In 1985, 820 men were randomly selected from a population age 64–84 years and were followed for 5 years. We adjusted relative risks for traditional risk factors (age, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking, and alcohol consumption) and also for baseline health status indicators (white blood cell count, physician's health score, self-rated health, and history of relevant diseases). Albumin was inversely associated with the incidence of coronary heart disease only among men with elevated total cholesterol levels (≥6.5 mmol per liter). The relative risk for a 1-standard deviation increase (2.5 gm per liter) in albumin was 0.60 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.38–0.96] and was not altered after additional adjustment for baseline health status. In all men, the relative risk for death due to coronary heart disease was 0.67 (95% CI = 0.49–0.92), and the relative risk was reduced to 0.84 (95% CI = 0.61–1.15) after adjustment for health status. We found comparable health status-adjusted relative risks for mortality from cardiovascular diseases (relative risk = 0.83; 95% CI = 0.67–1.02) and for mortality from all causes (relative risk = 0.86; 0.73–0.99). Independent of traditional risk factors, moderately low serum albumin is predictive of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality in elderly men. Only part of this relation could be explained by baseline health status.

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