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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2003 Nov;26(5):558-61.

The incidence of hyperhomocysteinaemia in vascular patients.

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Department of Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of Adelaide, Woodville 5011, Adelaide, Australia.



Hyperhomocysteinaemia has recently been identified as an important risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular disease. Screening for hyperhomocysteinaemia has been recommended, however, the incidence of hyperhomocysteinaemia in vascular patients is not known.


To determine the incidence of hyperhomocysteinaemia in vascular patients, to determine the relation of hyperhomocysteinaemia with folate, vitamin B12 levels and lipid profiles in vascular patients. To examine if there is a relationship between the degree of vascular injury and homocysteine concentration.


New vascular patients at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital were recruited and divided into peripheral, and aneurysmal presentations. Patients demographics were recorded, blood samples were taken for fasting lipid profile, and homocysteine concentration. Samples were also taken for vitamin B12, plasma and red cell folate levels. Sixty age and sex matched controls were included for comparison.


One hundred and twenty-six patients have been recruited, (95 men and 31 women) with a median age of 68 years (61-74 years). The incidence of elevated homocysteine, and cholesterol levels was 33, 47 and 24%. The levels of vitamin B12 and folate were normal in all patients. Homocysteine was elevated in 27% of claudicants, 50% of patients with rest pain and 53% of patients with an aortic aneurysm.


There is a high rate of hyperhomocysteinaemia in vascular patients with a higher incidence in patients with rest pain. There was also a high incidence of elevated homocysteine levels in patients with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The rate of growth of these aneurysms is currently under review. Low folate or B12 concentrations is not the cause of raised homocysteine levels.

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