Vitamin E and lipid peroxide plasma levels predict the risk of cardiovascular events in a group of healthy very old people

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001 May;49(5):533-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.49110.x.


Objectives: To assess whether systemic oxidative stress can predict the risk of first myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and congestive heart failure.

Design: A longitudinal study started in 1992 and completed in 1997.

Setting: Community-based, outpatient.

Participants: 102 apparently healthy, community-dwelling subjects age 80 and older from the Vibrata valley, Teramo, Italy.

Measurements: Plasma vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, fluorescent products of lipid peroxidation (FPLPs), and serum lipids were determined at enrollment.

Results: Thirty-two cardiovascular events were recorded in 47.4 months of follow-up. The subjects with vitamin E levels in the highest quartile had a risk of cardiovascular events one-sixth those with vitamin E levels in the lowest quartile (relative risk (RR) = 0.16; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.04-0.55). The subjects with FPLPs in the highest quartile had a risk seven times greater than those with FPLPs in the lowest quartile (RR = 7.61; 95% CI = 2.23-25.96). No association was observed for vitamin C, beta-carotene, or total cholesterol. Multivariate adjustment for known risk factors did not significantly change the results.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that in apparently healthy, community-dwelling very old subjects, base-line plasma concentration of vitamin E and FPLPs predicts the risk of future cardiovascular events. We confirm previous data showing that total cholesterol is not a predictor of cardiovascular disease in people age 80 and older.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Failure / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Lipid Peroxides / blood*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / etiology*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vitamin E / blood*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Triglycerides
  • Vitamin E
  • Cholesterol
  • Ascorbic Acid