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Serum Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Across Chronic Kidney Disease Stages (Data from 1.9 Million United States Veterans).


In the general population, elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality; however, the association of LDL with mortality risk and cardiovascular events are less clear in chronic kidney disease (CKD). We sought to examine the relationship of LDL with mortality and rates of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and non-atherosclerotic cardiovascular-related (non-ASCVD) hospitalizations across CKD stages. Our analytical cohort consisted of 1,972,851 United States veterans with serum LDL data between 2004 and 2006. Associations of LDL with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality across CKD stages were evaluated using Cox proportional hazard models with adjustment for demographics, comorbid conditions, smoking status, prescription of statins and non-statin lipid-lowering drugs, body mass index, albumin, high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides. Associations between LDL and ASCVD and non-ASCVD hospitalizations were estimated using negative binomial regression models across CKD stages. The cohort consisted of 5% female, 14% Black, 29% diabetic, 33% statin-users, and 44% current smokers, with a mean patient age of 64 ± 14 years. Patients with high LDL (≥160 mg/dL) had a higher risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality as well as ASCVD and non-ASCVD hospitalization rates across all CKD stages compared with the reference (LDL 70 to <100 mg/dL). The associations with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality and ASCVD hospitalization rate were attenuated at higher CKD stages. These trends were reversed with amplification of the association of high LDL with non-ASCVD hospitalization at higher CKD stages. In conclusion, associations of LDL with mortality and both ASCVD and non-ASCVD hospitalizations are modified according to kidney disease stage.

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