Objectives: Plasma levels of sialic acid are elevated in patients with coronary heart disease. We evaluated the specificity of this increase and attempted to correlate it with the severity of coronary lesions.
Methods: Total plasma sialic acid levels measured in 60 control subjects were compared with that in 135 patients with heart disease requiring coronarography.
Results: Plasma levels of sialic acid were significantly higher in patients (664 +/- 146 mg/l) than in controls (584 +/- 100 mg/l). In the group of patients, sialic acid level was only increased in those with coronary lesions - infarcts (738 +/- 166 mg/l) and angina (664 +/- 121 mg/l) - but was not raised above normal levels in those with other heart diseases (cardiomyopathy, valve failure, etc.). There was a positive correlation (p < 0.001) between raised sialic acid level and the severity of the coronary lesions as measured on coronarography.
Conclusions: The elevated level of sialic acid in patients with coronary heart disease could be related to disorders in cell adhesion.