It is a matter of controversy as to whether uric acid is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) or whether it represents only an indirect marker of adverse outcome by reflecting the association between uric acid and other cardiovascular risk factors. Therefore, we studied the influence of uric acid levels on mortality in patients with CAD. In 1,017 patients with angiographically proven CAD, classic risk factors and uric acid levels were determined at enrollment. A follow-up over a median of 2.2 years (maximum 3.1) was performed. Death from all causes was defined as an end point of the study. In CAD patients with uric acid levels <303 micromol/L (5.1 mg/dl) (lowest quartile) compared with those with uric acid levels >433 micromol/L (7.1 mg/dl) (highest quartile), the mortality rate increased from 3.4% to 17.1% (fivefold increase). After adjustment for age, both sexes demonstrated an increased risk for death with increasing uric acid levels (female patients: hazard ratio [HR] 1.30, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.14 to 1.49, p < or = 0.001; male patients: HR 1.39 [95% CI 1.21 to 1.59], p < or = 0.001). In multivariate Cox regression analysis performed with 12 variables that influence overall mortality-including diuretic use-elevated levels of uric acid demonstrated an independent, significant positive relation to overall mortality (HR 1.23 [95% CI 1.11 to 1.36], p <0.001) in patients with CAD. Thus, uric acid is an independent predictor of mortality in patients with CAD.