Because previous reports have suggested that IgE-mediated events may lead to both platelet activation and arterial spasm, a population-based study of 262 men and 315 women, aged 38 to 82, was conducted to investigate the association of serum IgE levels with myocardial infarction, stroke, and noninvasively diagnosed large-vessel peripheral arterial disease. In men with previous myocardial infarction, previous stroke, or current large-vessel peripheral arterial disease, geometric mean serum IgE levels were increased 119 percent, 164 percent, and 78 percent, respectively. These associations were statistically significant (p less than 0.05). Because IgE was positively or inversely correlated with several traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, logistic regression was used to evaluate the independent association of IgE with any cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke, or large-vessel peripheral arterial disease). In a model including age, cigarette smoking, fasting plasma glucose level, diastolic blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level as covariates, IgE was positively and independently associated with any cardiovascular disease (p = 0.03). Similar evaluations in women revealed no correlation between IgE and cardiovascular disease by either univariate or multivariable analysis. These data indicate that IgE may be an independent marker for cardiovascular disease in men, and thus suggest IgE-mediated events may play a role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.