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Coronary heart disease risks associated with high levels of HDL cholesterol.

  • Author(s): Wilkins, John T
  • Ning, Hongyan
  • Stone, Neil J
  • Criqui, Michael H
  • Zhao, Lihui
  • Greenland, Philip
  • Lloyd-Jones, Donald M
  • et al.


The association between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and coronary heart disease (CHD) events is not well described in individuals with very high levels of HDL-C (>80 mg/dL).

Methods and results

Using pooled data from 6 community-based cohorts we examined CHD and total mortality risks across a broad range of HDL-C, including values in excess of 80 mg/dL. We used Cox proportional hazards models with penalized splines to assess multivariable, adjusted, sex-stratified associations of HDL-C with the hazard for CHD events and total mortality, using HDL-C 45 mg/dL and 55 mg/dL as the referent in men and women, respectively. Analyses included 11 515 men and 12 925 women yielding 307 245 person-years of follow-up. In men, the association between HDL-C and CHD events was inverse and linear across most HDL-C values; however at HDL-C values >90 mg/dL there was a plateau effect in the pattern of association. In women, the association between HDL-C and CHD events was inverse and linear across lower values of HDL-C, however at HDL-C values >75 mg/dL there were no further reductions in the hazard ratio point estimates for CHD. In unadjusted models there were increased total mortality risks in men with very high HDL-C, however mortality risks observed in participants with very high HDL-C were attenuated after adjustment for traditional risk factors.


We did not observe further reductions in CHD risk with HDL-C values higher than 90 mg/dL in men and 75 mg/dL in women.

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