The association of elevated plasma cortisol and early atherosclerosis as demonstrated by coronary angiography

Raymond G. Troxler, Eugene A. Sprague, Richard A. Albanese, Robert Fuchs, A. J. Thompson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    180 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    To study the association of plasma cortisol and coronary atherosclerosis, we selected 71 male outpatients who had coronary angiography as part of their evaluation at our facility. Forty-eight percent of the angiograms showed no evidence of coronary artery disease (CAD), 20% showed mild CAD, and 32% showed moderate to severe CAD. We found significant correlations between elevated serial morning plasma cortisols and moderate to severe coronary atherosclerosis. Using the odds ratio, we compared plasma cortisol to the major risk factors for coronary artery disease. Plasma cortisol was second only to serum cholesterol as a discriminator in our patient population between diseased and non-diseased patients. We found a significant correlation between plasma cortisol and cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking - the three cardinal risk factors for CAD. The highest degree of correlation was found between cortisol and cholesterol. The possible significance of the association of cortisol and the major risk factors for CAD is discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)151-162
    Number of pages12
    JournalAtherosclerosis
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 1977

    Keywords

    • Atherogenesis
    • Corticosteroids
    • Hydrocortisone
    • Risk factors for coronary artery disease

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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