Objectives: We assessed the independent contribution of C-reactive protein to the risk of cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal Australians.
Methods: High sensitivity CRP levels were measured in 705 Aboriginal participants aged 20–74 years free from CVD at baseline. Participants were followed for a median of 11 years. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association of CRP with the risk of developing CVD events.
Results: A total of 114 participants were diagnosed with CVD. Incidence rates were 5.4 and 21.4 per 1,000 person-years for the lower (<3 mg/l) and the higher (≥3 mg/l) CRP groups, respectively. After adjusting for age, sex, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, diabetes, BMI and waist circumference, the association between CRP and CVD remained significant, with a hazard ratio of 2.40 (95% CI: 1.25, 4.62) for the higher CRP group relative to the lower CRP group. The population attributable risk was 52% (95% CI: 14%, 74%).
Conclusions: CRP is an independent predictor of CVD in Aboriginal people. A large proportion of CVD cases are associated with elevated CRP levels. Therefore, controlling the conditions that cause inflammation may be beneficial to cardiovascular health in Aboriginal communities.