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Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2002 Winter;17(1):35-41.

Emergent cardiovascular risk factor: homocysteine.

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  • 1College of Nursing, Kent State University, Tuscarawas Campus, New Philadelphia, OH 44663, USA.


Homocysteine is an independent, modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is an intermediate amino acid formed during the metabolism of methionine. Plasma homocysteine is normally < or = 12 micromol/L, but when elevated has many deleterious cardiovascular effects. This review explains homocysteine metabolism, the effects of elevated homocysteine, factors contributing to high homocysteine, and its measurement. Risk factors for elevated homocysteine and intervention with B vitamins are discussed. Cardiovascular nurses are encouraged to facilitate homocysteine awareness through a variety of educational means.

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