Beta 2 Microglobulin and the Risk for Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis

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Background and Purpose—Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Ongoing inflammation is associated with elevated levels of beta 2 microglobulin (B2M). We investigated B2M levels in a large cohort of patients with carotid atherosclerosis for the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events.Methods—One thousand five of 1286 consecutive, neurologically asymptomatic patients with carotid atherosclerosis were followed for a median of 3 years (interquartile range, 2.5 to 3.5) for the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events, a composite of myocardial infarction, percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary bypass graft, stroke, and death.Results—We recorded 359 major cardiovascular events in 271 (27%) patients. B2M was significantly associated with the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events. With increasing quartiles of B2M, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.19 (95% CI, 0.81 to 1.73), 1.51 (95% CI, 1.05 to 2.18), and 1.88 (95% CI, 1.26 to 2.79) compared with the lowest quartile, respectively (P<0.001). Adjusted hazard ratios for the occurrence of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke for increasing quartiles of B2M were 1.25 (95% CI, 0.92 to 1.70), 1.52 (95% CI, 1.12 to 2.06), and 1.62 (95% CI, 1.16 to 2.67) compared with the lowest quartile, respectively (P<0.001). Through statistical estimation of improvement in risk stratification, addition of B2M to baseline risk factors improved the risk stratification for major cardiovascular events, at least as much as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein or even better.Conclusions—B2M was independently and significantly associated with adverse cardiovascular outcome in patients with prevalent asymptomatic carotid atherosclerosis.

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