Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

The relationship between total bilirubin levels and total mortality in older adults: the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004.

  • Author(s): Ong, Kwok-Leung
  • Allison, Matthew A
  • Cheung, Bernard MY
  • Wu, Ben J
  • Barter, Philip J
  • Rye, Kerry-Anne
  • et al.
Abstract

Objective

Due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, bilirubin has been associated with reduced cardiovascular risk. A recent study demonstrated an L-shaped association of pre-treatment total bilirubin levels with total mortality in a statin-treated cohort. We therefore investigated the association of total bilirubin levels with total mortality in a nationally representative sample of older adults from the general population.

Methods

A total of 4,303 participants aged ≥ 60 years from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004 with mortality data followed up through December 31, 2006 were included in this analysis, with a mean follow-up period of 4.5 years.

Results

Participants with total bilirubin levels of 0.1-0.4 mg/dl had the highest mortality rate (19.8%). Compared with participants with total bilirubin levels of 0.5-0.7 mg/dl and in a multivariable regression model, a lower total bilirubin level of 0.1-0.4 mg/dl was associated with higher risk of total mortality (hazard ratios, 1.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-1.72; P = 0.012), while higher levels (≥ 0.8 mg/dl) also tended to be associated with higher risk of total mortality, but this did not reach statistical significance (hazard ratios, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.98-1.56; P = 0.072).

Conclusion

In this nationally representative sample of older adults, the association of total bilirubin levels with total mortality was the highest among those with a level between 0.1 and 0.4 mg/dl. Further studies are needed to investigate whether higher total bilirubin levels could be associated with a higher mortality risk, compared to a level of 0.5-0.7 mg/dl.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View