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


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Abstract

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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