Objectives: To determine whether dietary pattern assessed by a simple self-administered food frequency questionnaire is associated with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in high-risk patients with stable coronary artery disease.
Background: A Mediterranean dietary pattern has been associated with lower cardiovascular (CV) mortality. It is less certain whether foods common in western diets are associated with CV risk.
Methods: At baseline, 15 482 (97.8%) patients (mean age 67 ± 9 years) with stable coronary heart disease from 39 countries who participated in the Stabilisation of atherosclerotic plaque by initiation of darapladib therapy (STABILITY) trial completed a life style questionnaire which included questions on common foods. A Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was calculated for increasing consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and alcohol, and for less meat, and a 'Western diet score' (WDS) for increasing consumption of refined grains, sweets and deserts, sugared drinks, and deep fried foods. A multi-variable Cox proportional hazards models assessed associations between MDS or WDS and MACE, defined as CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke.
Results: After a median follow-up of 3.7 years MACE occurred in 7.3% of 2885 subjects with an MDS ≥15, 10.5% of 4018 subjects with an MDS of 13-14, and 10.8% of 8579 subjects with an MDS ≤12. A one unit increase in MDS >12 was associated with lower MACE after adjusting for all covariates (+1 category HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.91, 0.98, P = 0.002). There was no association between WDS (adjusted model +1 category HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.97, 1.01) and MACE.
Conclusion: Greater consumption of healthy foods may be more important for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease than avoidance of less healthy foods typical of Western diets.
Keywords: Cardiovascular prevention; Coronary artery disease; Mediterranean diet; Mortality.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.