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Atherosclerosis. 1991 Jul;89(1):59-67.

Lipoprotein (a) and coronary heart disease risk: a nested case-control study of the Helsinki Heart Study participants.

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National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


To prospectively assess the role of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) as a risk factor for coronary heart disease, the serum Lp(a) concentration was determined in 130 subjects without coronary events and in 138 patients in whom coronary events (i.e. fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction and cardiac death) occurred during the 5-year Helsinki Heart Study. The participants of this study (n = 4081) were 40-55-year-old men who were devoid of coronary heart disease at the beginning of the trial; half were randomized to gemfibrozil and the other half to placebo treatment. In patients with coronary events blood pressure and total cholesterol were not significant predictors of the events but their LDL cholesterol was higher than compared to the control group in this cohort (P less than 0.05). The serum Lp(a) concentration was determined by immunoassay from samples obtained 3 months after the beginning of the trial and then stored at -20 degrees C until analysed. Studies on the effect of long term storage at -20 degrees C on serum Lp(a) levels did not reveal significant changes in Lp(a) concentration in sera stored for up to 8.5 years. The distribution of Lp(a) concentrations were similar in the men with coronary events and the controls. Nor did the mean or median levels of Lp(a) differ significantly between the two groups. Measurements of Lp(a) levels in fresh samples using 2 different immunoassays did not reveal any significant difference between the participants who had survived a myocardial infarction or participants without cardiac events. Thus, we conclude that in the Helsinki Heart Study cohort the serum Lp(a) level was not a predictor of future coronary events.

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