OBJECTIVES: To determine the long-term prognostic importance of in-hospital total serum cholesterol in elderly survivors of acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
DESIGN: Retrospective medical record review.
SETTING: Acute care, nongovernmental hospitals in Alabama, Connecticut, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
PARTICIPANTS: Four thousand nine hundred twenty-three Medicare beneficiaries from four states aged 65 and older discharged alive with a principal diagnosis of AMI between June 1, 1992, and February 28, 1993, who had a measurement of total serum cholesterol during hospitalization.
MEASUREMENTS: Primary endpoint of all-cause mortality within 6 years of discharge.
RESULTS: Of the 7,166 hospitalizations meeting study inclusion criteria, 4,923 (68.7%) had total cholesterol assessed, and 22% had a cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or greater. Of AMI hospitalization survivors with cholesterol of 240 md/dL or greater, 17.2% died within 1 year and 47.9% died within 6 years, compared with 17.4% (P =.73) and 48.7% (P =.98) of those with a cholesterol level less than 240 mg/dL. The adjusted hazard ratio for elevated total serum cholesterol measured during hospitalization for all-cause mortality in the 6 years after discharge was 0.97 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.87-1.09). The unadjusted 1- and 6-year mortality rates for those with total cholesterol less than 160 mg/dL were 22.2% and 55.5%, respectively, not significantly different from mortality for patients with cholesterol of 160 mg/dL or greater, even after adjustment.
CONCLUSION: Among elderly survivors of AMI, elevated total serum cholesterol measured postinfarction is not associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality in the 6 years after discharge. Furthermore, this study found no evidence of an increased risk of all-cause mortality in patients with low total cholesterol. Further studies are needed to determine the relationship of postinfarction lipid subfractions and mortality in older patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/catarina_kiefe/99/