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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 1999 May-June;90(5-6):151-8

language: Italian

Higher levels of lipoprotein(a) are present in subjects with early coronary heart disease and with familial history of coronary heart disease

Saitta A., Castaldo M., Sardo A., Cinquegrani M., Bonaiuto M., Zema M., Gravina M., Mangano C.


Background. Elevated levels of lipoprotein(a) are associated with a greater risk of atherothrombotic cardiovascular diseases. Since the Lp(a) levels are genetically determined and fairly stable in the course of life and a family history appears to be an independent risk factor of cardiovascular diseases, we evaluated the behavior of Lp(a) levels in patients with early events of coronary heart disease (CHD) and also in subjects with positive family history of ischemic heart diseases. Methods. The levels of lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] were measured in 254 subjects, 138 males and 116 females with an average age of 48.6±13.8 years (range 20-76 years). Diabetic subjects, females submitted to oestrogen treatment and those already in treatment with hypolipidaemic drugs were excluded from the study. Forty of the 254 patients (15.7%), 27 males and 13 females, had CHD (29 a previous myocardial infarction and 11 a stable angina). A positive family history for CHD was considered present (102 of the 254 patients) if one or more first degree relatives had angina or myocardial infarction before the age of 60 years in men and 65 in women. Results. The levels of Lp(a) were higher (p<0.01) in women (25.1±28.3 mg/dl) compared to men (17.6±18.4 mg/dl), without differences in relation to age. The Lp(a) plasmatic levels were not correlated with age, body mass index, total cholesterol, LDL and HDL, triglycerides, apo B, apo AI, fibrinogen and there were no differences in Lp(a) levels in presence or absence of other known cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and smoking. The Lp(a) levels were not different between subjects with CHD (28.15±31.7 mg/dl) and controls (20.3±22.8 mg/dl). The subjects with CHD were older and had higher levels of fibrinogen and a significantly greater prevalence of hypertension and family history of CHD. Fifteen of the 40 subjects with CHD had an early onset of CHD (before 50 years of age) and only in such patients the Lp(a) levels were significantly greater compared to controls (35.8±33.2 mg/dl vs 20.3±22.8 of the controls, p<0.01), independently of other variables (age, BMI, smoking, hypertension, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-c, LDL-c, fibrinogen). Furthermore the Lp(a) plasmatic levels were higher in subjects with a family history of CHD (28.3±27.6 mg/dl vs 16.3±18.6 mg/dl of the subjects without a family history of CHD, p<0.01) even if they had or not had a previous coronary ischemic event. Conclusions. Such data confirm the importance of high levels of Lp(a) above all for the early events of CHD and for the subjects with a family history of CHD, which could be expression of a greater predisposition for cardiovascular events.

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