Objective. Based on case–control and prospective studies elevated blood total homocysteine (tHcy) has been suggested to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The purpose of the study was to explore the joint effect of increased serum tHcy concentration and other risk factors on the risk of CVD mortality in middle-aged men without a history of heart disease or stroke.
Design. A prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study.
Setting. Eastern Finland.
Subjects. A total of 802 men aged 46–64 years, examined in 1991–93.
Main outcome measures. CVD mortality event.
Results. The mean serum tHcy concentration was 10.8 μmol L−1 (SD 3.3). During the average follow-up time of 10.8 years 50 men experienced a CVD death. The hazard rate ratio for CVD mortality was 1.80 (95% confidence interval: 1.02–3.19) in men in the highest serum tHcy third versus lower thirds after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, elevated serum tHcy concentration appeared to increase the risk of CVD death in men who smoke or who have high circulating concentrations of serum total or LDL cholesterol, apo-B apolipoprotein or plasma fibrinogen.
Conclusion. We conclude that homocysteine may increase the risk of CVD mortality in middle-aged men from Eastern Finland, and it may especially increase the risk when present with other risk factors for CVD.