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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1231-6.

Serum ferritin and risk of myocardial infarction in the elderly: the Rotterdam Study.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Elevated body iron stores have been suggested to be a risk factor for ischemic heart disease.


We examined whether elevated serum ferritin concentrations, other indicators of iron status, and dietary iron affected the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) in an elderly population.


A nested, case-control study of 60 patients who had their first MI and 112 age- and sex-matched control subjects embedded in the population-based cohort of the Rotterdam Study.


The age- and sex-adjusted risk of MI for subjects with serum ferritin concentrations > or = 200 microg/L was 1.82 (95% CI: 0.90, 3.69; P = 0.096). The odds ratio (OR) was 1.26 (95% CI: 0.98, 1.64; P = 0.078) for the highest tertile of serum ferritin and was only slightly altered in a multivariate model. Risk of MI associated with the highest tertile of ferritin was most evident in current or former smokers (OR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.17, 2.47; P for trend = 0.008) and in subjects with hypercholesterolemia (OR: 1.43; 95% CI: 0.99, 2.11; P for trend = 0.056) or diabetes (OR: 2.41; 95% CI: 1.12, 7.67; P for trend = 0.027). No association with risk of MI was observed for tertiles of serum iron, serum transferrin, or total dietary iron. For dietary heme iron, risk of MI was significantly increased in a multivariate model in which dietary energy, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol were adjusted for (OR: 4.01; 95% CI: 1.17, 15.87; P for trend = 0.031).


In the presence of other risk factors, serum ferritin may adversely affect ischemic heart disease risk in the elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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