Background: Inflammatory process has been found to play an important role in the pathogenesis of coronary heart disease (CHD) and in the prognosis of CHD patients. AIM. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in patients with unstable angina pectoris (UAP), including factor analysis to assess their joint effects.
Methods: The study comprised 263 consecutive patients (159 men, 104 women; median age 68 years) with UAP. Blood samples for the acute-phase protein and cytokine determinations were drawn on admission.
Results: Coronary mortality during the median follow-up time of 17 months was 6-fold higher in the highest tertile for CRP and IL-6 and 3.5-fold higher in the highest tertile for fibrinogen and TNF-alpha than in the respective combined lower tertiles. Factor analysis produced two underlying factors, ie the 'inflammation' factor, including CRP, fibrinogen and IL-6, and the 'injury' factor, including troponin T, creatine kinase MB mass and TNF-alpha. In Cox models, both of these factors were independent predictors of the risk of coronary death and major coronary events (coronary death or nonfatal myocardial infarction).
Conclusions: Elevated levels of acute-phase proteins and cytokines, particularly CRP and IL-6, are strong predictors of the risk of serious coronary events in patients with UAP.