Mildly elevated serum creatinine concentration was proposed to be a marker for increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. The aim of our prospective study was to evaluate a possible association between serum creatinine concentration and extent of coronary atherosclerosis together with conventional risk factors for atherosclerosis. Serum creatinine concentration was measured in 40 male patients without overt renal or ischemic renal disease (mean age 53 +/- 7 years) with stable or unstable angina undergoing routine coronary arteriography. The extent of coronary atherosclerosis was assessed by Gensini score. In univariate linear regression analysis Gensini score significantly correlated with serum concentrations of apolipoprotein AII (r=-0.3242, P<0.05) and creatinine (r=+0.3194, P<0.05), but not with serum concentrations of lipids (total, low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides), other apolipoproteins (apo B, apo AI), lipoprotein(a), autoantibodies to oxidatively modified low-density lipoprotein or age, weight and status of smoking, diabetes or hypertension. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that elevated serum creatinine was associated with the extent of coronary atherosclerosis independently of conventional risk factors for atherosclerosis. Mildly elevated serum creatinine was probably the marker of generalised vascular disease denoting early nephrovasculopathy in correlation with established atherosclerotic risk factors.