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.