Lipoprotein(a) and family history predict cardiovascular disease risk

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Background: Elevated lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]) and family history (FHx) of coronary heart disease (CHD) are individually associated with cardiovascular risk, and Lp(a) is commonly measured in those with FHx.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine independent and joint associations of Lp(a) and FHx with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and CHD among asymptomatic subjects.
Methods: Plasma Lp(a) was measured and FHx was ascertained in 2 cohorts. Elevated Lp(a) was defined as the highest race-specific quintile. Independent and joint associations of Lp(a) and FHx with cardiovascular risk were determined using Cox regression models adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors.
Results: Among 12,149 ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities) participants (54 years, 56% women, 23% black, 44% with FHx), 3,114 ASCVD events were observed during 21 years of follow-up. FHx and elevated Lp(a) were independently associated with ASCVD (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.17; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09 to 1.26, and HR: 1.25; 95% CI: 1.12 to 1.40, respectively), and no Lp(a)-by-FHx interaction was noted (p = 0.75). Compared with subjects without FHx and nonelevated Lp(a), those with either elevated Lp(a) or FHx were at a higher ASCVD risk, while those with both had the highest risk (HR: 1.43; 95% CI: 1.27 to 1.62). Similar findings were observed for CHD risk in ARIC, in analyses stratified by premature FHx, and in an independent cohort, the DHS (Dallas Heart Study). Presence of both elevated Lp(a) and FHx resulted in greater improvement in ASCVD and CHD risk reclassification and discrimination indexes than either marker alone.
Conclusions: Elevated plasma Lp(a) and FHx have independent and additive joint associations with cardiovascular risk and may be useful concurrently for guiding primary prevention therapy decisions.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of the American College of Cardiology