High selenium levels associate with reduced risk of mortality and new-onset heart failure: data from PREVEND

Eur J Heart Fail. 2022 Feb;24(2):299-307. doi: 10.1002/ejhf.2405. Epub 2022 Jan 2.


Aim: To elucidate the relationship between serum selenium levels and the risk of mortality and new-onset heart failure (HF) in the general adult population.

Methods and results: Selenium was measured in a Dutch cohort and a retrospective analysis of prospectively assessed data was performed. Main outcome measures were all-cause mortality and incidence of new-onset HF separately, and combined as a composite endpoint. Serum selenium was measured in 5973 subjects and mean selenium concentration was 84.6 (±19.5) µg/L. Mean age was 53.6 (±12.1) years and 3103 subjects (52%) were female. Median follow-up was 8.4 years. Selenium levels associated positively with female sex, higher total cholesterol and glucose concentrations, and associated negatively with incidence of anaemia, iron deficiency, current smoking, increased C-reactive protein levels, and higher body mass index. Univariate analysis on all subjects showed no association of continuous selenium concentrations, per 10 µg/L increase, with the composite endpoint (hazard ratio [HR] 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.87-1.06, p = 0.407). However, significant interaction with smoking status was observed. In non-smoking subjects (n = 4288), continuous selenium concentrations were independently associated with reduced mortality risk (HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.79-0.96, p = 0.005), lower risk of new-onset HF (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69-0.96, p = 0.017), as well as reduced risk of the composite endpoint (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.79-0.94, p = 0.001). In smoking subjects, no associations were found.

Conclusion: Serum selenium was independently associated with multiple indicators of the metabolic syndrome. In addition, high selenium levels were independently associated with reduced mortality and new-onset HF in non-smokers. Well-powered interventional studies are necessary to evaluate the potential benefit of repleting selenium, especially in non-smoking subjects.

Keywords: Heart failure; Malnutrition; Mortality; Selenium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Selenium*


  • Selenium