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Prognostic Usefulness of Free Fatty Acids in Patients With Stable Coronary Heart Disease

      Circulating nonesterified or free fatty acids (FFAs) may contribute to the development of cardiovascular pathology and correlate with ischemia in acute cardiovascular conditions. The aim of this study was to assess whether serum levels of FFAs are associated with long-term prognosis in subjects with stable coronary heart disease. This observational prospective cohort study included 1,206 participants in 3-weeks inpatient rehabilitation programs after acute myocardial infarction, coronary syndromes, or coronary intervention at 2 rehabilitation clinics in Germany (1999 to 2000). Eight-year prognosis (time to a secondary fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease event including myocardial infarction and stroke [n = 153] and time to death from any cause [n = 124]) was examined according to FFA quartiles and in spline regression. FFAs were correlated with established serum markers of cardiovascular risk and strongly related to secondary cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality in age- and gender-adjusted analysis. When additionally controlling for multiple established risk factors and risk markers, the hazard ratio in the fourth versus first quartile was 1.34 (95% confidence interval 0.79 to 2.24) for secondary cardiovascular events and 1.09 (95% confidence interval 0.62 to 1.91) for all-cause mortality. Dose-response modeling suggested that very high FFAs might predict an increased risk for mortality (hazard ratio 1.98, 95% confidence interval 0.98 to 4.02, for 95th percentile vs first quartile). In conclusion, FFAs are closely correlated with cardiovascular risk markers, and in particular, very high FFA might identify patients with stable coronary heart disease with worse prognoses.
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