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Int J Cardiol. 2013 Jul 31;167(2):403-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Plasma triglyceride levels increase the risk for recurrent vascular events independent of LDL-cholesterol or nonHDL-cholesterol.

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Department of Vascular Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Plasma triglyceride (TG) levels are known to confer an increased risk of vascular disease in healthy populations, but data in high-risk patients are scarce. In this study we evaluated the risk on recurrent vascular events conferred by increased plasma TG levels in patients with various clinical manifestations of vascular disease.


Prospective cohort study of 5731 patients with clinically manifest vascular disease.


First new vascular events (myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, vascular death) occurred in 782 subjects during a median follow-up of 4.9 years (interquartile range 2.5-8.1 years). Patients in the highest plasma TG quintile (>2.24 mmol/L) had a higher risk for recurrent vascular events (HR 1.45; 95%CI 1.13-1.86) compared with the lowest plasma TG quintile (<0.97 mmol/L) after adjustments for age, gender, body mass index, smoking, lipid-lowering medication and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. The increased risk associated with increasing plasma TG levels was irrespective of the presence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), but only present in patients without the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, the increased risk was particularly present in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) (HR 1.45; 95%CI 1.02-2.08) and was not modified by other lipid levels (p-value for interaction >0.05). Plasma TG still contributed to vascular risk when other lipid levels were at target level.


Higher plasma TG levels are associated with increased risk for recurrent vascular events, in particular in CAD patients. This increased risk is independent of the presence of T2DM and the use of lipid-lowering medication and is not modified by other lipid levels.

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