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      Use of Framingham risk score and new biomarkers to predict cardiovascular mortality in older people: population based observational cohort study


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          Objectives To investigate the performance of classic risk factors, and of some new biomarkers, in predicting cardiovascular mortality in very old people from the general population with no history of cardiovascular disease.

          Design The Leiden 85-plus Study (1997-2004) is an observational prospective cohort study with 5 years of follow-up.

          Setting General population of the city of Leiden, the Netherlands.

          Participants Population based sample of participants aged 85 years (215 women and 87 men) with no history of cardiovascular disease; no other exclusion criteria.

          Main measurements Cause specific mortality was registered during follow-up. All classic risk factors included in the Framingham risk score (sex, systolic blood pressure, total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, smoking and electrocardiogram based left ventricular hypertrophy), as well as plasma concentrations of the new biomarkers homocysteine, folic acid, C reactive protein, and interleukin 6, were assessed at baseline.

          Results During follow-up, 108 of the 302 participants died; 32% (35/108) of deaths were from cardiovascular causes. Classic risk factors did not predict cardiovascular mortality when used in the Framingham risk score (area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.42 to 0.63) or in a newly calibrated model (0.53, 0.43 to 0.64). Of the new biomarkers studied, homocysteine had most predictive power (0.65, 0.55 to 0.75). Entering any additional risk factor or combination of factors into the homocysteine prediction model did not increase its discriminative power.

          Conclusions In very old people from the general population with no history of cardiovascular disease, concentrations of homocysteine alone can accurately identify those at high risk of cardiovascular mortality, whereas classic risk factors included in the Framingham risk score do not. These preliminary findings warrant validation in a separate cohort.

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          Most cited references43

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          Development and validation of improved algorithms for the assessment of global cardiovascular risk in women: the Reynolds Risk Score.

          Despite improved understanding of atherothrombosis, cardiovascular prediction algorithms for women have largely relied on traditional risk factors. To develop and validate cardiovascular risk algorithms for women based on a large panel of traditional and novel risk factors. Thirty-five factors were assessed among 24 558 initially healthy US women 45 years or older who were followed up for a median of 10.2 years (through March 2004) for incident cardiovascular events (an adjudicated composite of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, coronary revascularization, and cardiovascular death). We used data among a random two thirds (derivation cohort, n = 16 400) to develop new risk algorithms that were then tested to compare observed and predicted outcomes in the remaining one third of women (validation cohort, n = 8158). Minimization of the Bayes Information Criterion was used in the derivation cohort to develop the best-fitting parsimonious prediction models. In the validation cohort, we compared predicted vs actual 10-year cardiovascular event rates when the new algorithms were compared with models based on covariates included in the Adult Treatment Panel III risk score. In the derivation cohort, a best-fitting model (model A) and a clinically simplified model (model B, the Reynolds Risk Score) had lower Bayes Information Criterion scores than models based on covariates used in Adult Treatment Panel III. In the validation cohort, all measures of fit, discrimination, and calibration were improved when either model A or B was used. For example, among participants without diabetes with estimated 10-year risks according to the Adult Treatment Panel III of 5% to less than 10% (n = 603) or 10% to less than 20% (n = 156), model A reclassified 379 (50%) into higher- or lower-risk categories that in each instance more accurately matched actual event rates. Similar effects were achieved for clinically simplified model B limited to age, systolic blood pressure, hemoglobin A(1c) if diabetic, smoking, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and parental history of myocardial infarction before age 60 years. Neither new algorithm provided substantive information about women at very low risk based on the published Adult Treatment Panel III score. We developed, validated, and demonstrated highly improved accuracy of 2 clinical algorithms for global cardiovascular risk prediction that reclassified 40% to 50% of women at intermediate risk into higher- or lower-risk categories.
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            Pravastatin in elderly individuals at risk of vascular disease (PROSPER): a randomised controlled trial.

            Although statins reduce coronary and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality in middle-aged individuals, their efficacy and safety in elderly people is not fully established. Our aim was to test the benefits of pravastatin treatment in an elderly cohort of men and women with, or at high risk of developing, cardiovascular disease and stroke. We did a randomised controlled trial in which we assigned 5804 men (n=2804) and women (n=3000) aged 70-82 years with a history of, or risk factors for, vascular disease to pravastatin (40 mg per day; n=2891) or placebo (n=2913). Baseline cholesterol concentrations ranged from 4.0 mmol/L to 9.0 mmol/L. Follow-up was 3.2 years on average and our primary endpoint was a composite of coronary death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and fatal or non-fatal stroke. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. Pravastatin lowered LDL cholesterol concentrations by 34% and reduced the incidence of the primary endpoint to 408 events compared with 473 on placebo (hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI 0.74-0.97, p=0.014). Coronary heart disease death and non-fatal myocardial infarction risk was also reduced (0.81, 0.69-0.94, p=0.006). Stroke risk was unaffected (1.03, 0.81-1.31, p=0.8), but the hazard ratio for transient ischaemic attack was 0.75 (0.55-1.00, p=0.051). New cancer diagnoses were more frequent on pravastatin than on placebo (1.25, 1.04-1.51, p=0.020). However, incorporation of this finding in a meta-analysis of all pravastatin and all statin trials showed no overall increase in risk. Mortality from coronary disease fell by 24% (p=0.043) in the pravastatin group. Pravastatin had no significant effect on cognitive function or disability. Pravastatin given for 3 years reduced the risk of coronary disease in elderly individuals. PROSPER therefore extends to elderly individuals the treatment strategy currently used in middle aged people.
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              Homocysteine lowering with folic acid and B vitamins in vascular disease.

              In observational studies, lower homocysteine levels are associated with lower rates of coronary heart disease and stroke. Folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lower homocysteine levels. We assessed whether supplementation reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events in patients with vascular disease. We randomly assigned 5522 patients 55 years of age or older who had vascular disease or diabetes to daily treatment either with the combination of 2.5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6, and 1 mg of vitamin B12 or with placebo for an average of five years. The primary outcome was a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Mean plasma homocysteine levels decreased by 2.4 micromol per liter (0.3 mg per liter) in the active-treatment group and increased by 0.8 micromol per liter (0.1 mg per liter) in the placebo group. Primary outcome events occurred in 519 patients (18.8 percent) assigned to active therapy and 547 (19.8 percent) assigned to placebo (relative risk, 0.95; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.84 to 1.07; P=0.41). As compared with placebo, active treatment did not significantly decrease the risk of death from cardiovascular causes (relative risk, 0.96; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.13), myocardial infarction (relative risk, 0.98; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.14), or any of the secondary outcomes. Fewer patients assigned to active treatment than to placebo had a stroke (relative risk, 0.75; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.59 to 0.97). More patients in the active-treatment group were hospitalized for unstable angina (relative risk, 1.24; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.49). Supplements combining folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 did not reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in patients with vascular disease. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00106886; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN14017017.). Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.

                Author and article information

                Role: general practitioner and clinical researcher
                Role: professor
                Role: professor
                Role: clinical researcher
                Role: senior epidemiologist
                Role: statistician
                Role: professor
                BMJ : British Medical Journal
                BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
                08 January 2009
                : 338
                : a3083
                [1 ]Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Public Health and Primary Care (V0-P), PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands
                [2 ]Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics (C2-R), PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands
                [3 ]Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Medical Statistics (S5-P), PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: W de Ruijter w.de_ruijter@ 123456lumc.nl
                © Ruijter et al 2009

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 20 October 2008



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