Inflammatory Markers and Onset of Cardiovascular Events: Results from the Health ABC Study

Matteo Cesari, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Anne B. Newman, Stephen B. Kritchevsky, Barbara J. Nicklas, Kim Sutton-Tyrrell, Susan M. Rubin, Jingzhong Ding, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Tamara B. Harris, Marco Pahor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

753 Scopus citations


Background - Inflammation plays an important role in cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study is to investigate the predictive value of several inflammatory markers on the incidence of cardiovascular events in well-functioning older persons. Methods and Results - The subjects were 2225 participants 70 to 79 years old, without baseline cardiovascular disease, who were enrolled in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. Incident coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and congestive heart failure (CHF) events were detected during an average follow-up of 3.6 years. Blood levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were assessed. After adjustment for potential confounders, IL-6 was significantly associated with all outcomes (CHD events, per IL-6 SD increase: RR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.48; stroke events, per IL-6 SD increase: RR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.86; CHF events, per IL-6 SD increase: RR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.40 to 2.12). TNF-α showed significant associations with CHD (per TNF-α SD increase: RR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.43) and CHF (per TNF-α SD increase: RR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.30 to 1.95) events. CRP was significantly associated with CHF events (per CRP SD increase: RR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.23 to 1.78). A composite summary indicator of inflammation showed a strong association with incident cardiovascular events, with an especially high risk if all 3 inflammatory markers were in the highest tertile. Conclusions - Findings suggest that inflammatory markers are independent predictors of cardiovascular events in older persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2317-2322
Number of pages6
Issue number19
StatePublished - Nov 11 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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