Body iron stores had no impact on coronary heart disease outcomes: a middle-aged male cohort from the general population with 21-year follow-up

Open Heart. 2022 Apr;9(1):e001928. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2021-001928.


Background: Body iron stores (BISs) have been proposed to be related to the development of cardiovascular diseases. However, results from epidemiological studies are conflicting. Knowledge on the long-term impact of BIS on cardiovascular outcomes in the general population is lacking.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between BIS and coronary heart disease (CHD) including death due to CHD.

Methods: This investigation is part of 'The Study of Men Born in 1943', a longitudinal prospective study of men living in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. This random population sample was examined in 1993 (all at 50 years of age at baseline). A medical examination was performed, and questionnaires were used to evaluate lifestyle factors. Biomarkers for iron stores (serum ferritin and serum transferrin receptor) was analysed from frozen blood samples in 2014. All hospital admissions were registered through national registers during the entire follow-up from 1993 to 2014. HRs were estimated by Cox proportional-hazard regression analyses.

Results: During the 21 years follow-up period, 120 participants (15.2%) developed CHD and 16 patients (2%) died due to CHD. The all-cause mortality was 15.2% (n=120) including 40 cardiovascular deaths (5.1%). In a multivariable Cox regression analysis, the daily smoking, hypertension and the increased resting heart rate was independent predictors of CHD, while no significant association was found between BIS and risk of CHD.

Conclusions: In a cohort of middle-aged men from the general population with well validated and prospectively collected data, we did not find any association between serum ferritin or serum transferrin receptor as markers of BIS and CHD events after 21 years of follow-up.

Trail registration number: NCT03138122.

Keywords: Coronary Artery Disease; Epidemiology; Myocardial Infarction; Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Coronary Disease* / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease* / epidemiology
  • Ferritins
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Iron
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, Transferrin


  • Biomarkers
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Ferritins
  • Iron

Associated data