The well established inverse relation of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and the risk of coronary artery disease was tested in a cross-Sectional group of 572 asymptomatic aircrew members who were being screened for risk of coronary artery disease. A battery of tests was performed, including determinations of fasting serum cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides and performance of a maximal symptomlimited exercise tolerance test. Of the 572 patients, 132 also had an abnormal S-T segment response to exercise testing or were otherwise believed to have an increased risk of organic heart disease and subsequently underwent coronary angiography. Significant coronary artery disease was found in 16 men and minimal or subcritical coronary disease in 14; coronary angiograms were normal in the remaining 102 men. The remaining 440 men, who were believed to have a 1 percent chance of having coronary artery disease by sequential testing of risk factors and treadmill testing, had a mean cholesterol level of 213 mg/100 ml, a mean HDL cholesterol of 51 mg/100 ml and a mean cholesterol/HDL ratio of 4.4. The mean values for cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and cholesterol/HDL cholesterol did not differ significantly in men with normal angiographic findings and those with subcritical coronary disease. However, 14 of 16 men with coronary artery disease had a cholesterol/HDL ratio of 6.0 or more whereas only 4 men with normal coronary arteries had a ratio of 6.0 or more. Of the classic coronary risk factors evaluated, the cholesterol/HDL ratio of 6.0 or more had the highest odds ratio (172:1). It appears that determination of HDL cholesterol level helps to identify asymptomatic persons with a greater risk of having coronary artery disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine