The association of low levels of hdl cholesterol and arteriographically defined coronary artery disease

T. A. Pearson, B. H. Bulkley, S. C. Achuff, P. O. Kwiterovich, L. Gordis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Epidemiologic studies have found associations between low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and increased risk of coronary artery disease, using myocardial infarction or angina pectoris as endpoints. However, since most studies have not correlated HDL cholesterol with the presence, severity, or location of anatomically proven coronary disease, the present study measured HDL cholesterol levels in 483 men and women undergoing coronary arteriography. Consistent and statistically significant trends of decreasing mean HDL cholesterol levels with increasing numbers of diseased coronary arteries were observed in both men and women and in younger and older age groups. Although women without coronary disease had much higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men without coronary disease, the differences between men and women with similar degrees of coronary disease were small. Low levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with left main coronary disease; patients with both triple vessel disease and left main disease had lower levels of HDL cholesterol than did patients with triple vessel disease without left main disease. These results were not explained by the possible associations of low density lipoprotein cholesterol or triglycerides with HDL cholesterol. These findings suggest that low levels of HDL cholesterol are important risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and that they may be useful for identifying patients at high risk of certain anatomic patterns of coronary artery disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1979


  • Arteriography
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Coronary
  • Coronary disease
  • High density lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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