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Independent Relationship of Lipoprotein(a) and Carotid Atherosclerosis With Long-Term Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.

BACKGROUND: Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is considered to be a causal risk factor of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), but whether there is an independent or joint association of Lp(a) and atherosclerotic plaque with ASCVD risk remains uncertain. This study aims to assess ASCVD risk independently or jointly conferred by Lp(a) and carotid atherosclerotic plaque.

METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 5471 participants with no history of cardiovascular disease at baseline were recruited and followed up for ASCVD events (all fatal and nonfatal acute coronary and ischemic stroke events) over a median of 11.5 years. Independent association of Lp(a), or the joint association of Lp(a) and carotid plaque with ASCVD risk, was explored using Cox proportional hazards models. Overall, 7.6% of the participants (60.0±7.9 years of age; 2649 [48.4%] men) had Lp(a) ≥50 mg/dL, and 539 (8.4/1000 person-years) incident ASCVD events occurred. Lp(a) concentrations were independently associated with long-term risk of total ASCVD events, as well as coronary events and ischemic stroke events. Participants with Lp(a) ≥50 mg/dL had a 62% higher risk of ASCVD incidence (95% CI, 1.19-2.21) than those with Lp(a) <10 mg/dL, and they exhibited a 10-year ASCVD incidence of 11.7%. This association exists even after adjusting for prevalent plaque. Moreover, participants with Lp(a) ≥30 mg/dL and prevalent plaque had a significant 4.18 times higher ASCVD risk than those with Lp(a) <30 mg/dL and no plaque.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher Lp(a) concentrations are independently associated with long-term ASCVD risk and may exaggerate cardiovascular risk when concomitant with atherosclerotic plaque.

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