Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess whether metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) predicts a higher risk for cardiovascular events in older adults.
Background: The importance of MetSyn as a risk factor has not previously focused on older adults and deserves further study.
Methods: We studied the impact of MetSyn (38% prevalence) on outcomes in 3,035 participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study (51% women, 42% black, ages 70 to 79 years).
Results: During a 6-year follow-up, there were 434 deaths overall, 472 coronary events (CE), 213 myocardial infarctions (MI), and 231 heart failure (HF) hospital stays; 59% of the subjects had at least one hospital stay. Coronary events, MI, HF, and overall hospital stays occurred significantly more in subjects with MetSyn (19.9% vs. 12.9% for CE, 9.1% vs. 5.7% for MI, 10.0% vs. 6.1% for HF, and 63.1% vs. 56.1% for overall hospital stay; all p < 0.001). No significant differences in overall mortality was seen; however, there was a trend toward higher cardiovascular mortality (5.1% vs. 3.8%, p = 0.067) and coronary mortality (4.5% vs. 3.2%, p = 0.051) in patients with MetSyn. After adjusting for baseline characteristics, patients with MetSyn were at a significantly higher risk for CE (hazard ratio [HR] 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28 to 1.91), MI (HR 1.51, 95% CI 1.12 to 2.05), and HF hospital stay (HR 1.49, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.00). Women and whites with MetSyn had a higher coronary mortality rate. The CE rate was higher among subjects with diabetes and with MetSyn; those with both had the highest risk.
Conclusions: Overall, subjects over 70 years are at high risk for cardiovascular events; MetSyn in this group is associated with a significantly greater risk.