In the past decade inflammatory markers have emerged as strong independent risk indicators for cardiovascular disease. Even though adults over the age of 65 experience a high proportion of such events, most epidemiologic data are from middle-aged populations. In this review we examine the role that inflammatory markers play in the prediction of incident cardiovascular disease specifically in older adults. In studies of adults < 65 years, IL-6, TNFalpha and IL-10 levels have been shown to predict cardiovascular outcomes. The data on C-reactive protein are inconsistent, but CRP levels appear to be less useful in old-age than in middle-age. Fibrinogen levels predict mortality but in a non-specific manner. In the elderly inflammatory markers are non-specific measures of health and predict both disability and mortality even in the absence of clinical cardiovascular disease. Thus it is possible that, in older age-groups, interventions designed to prevent cardiovascular disease through the modulation of inflammation would also be helpful in reducing disability and mortality.