Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Recently it has been suggested that the amino acid homocysteine contributes to this process. This study evaluates whether elevated plasma levels of homocysteine in hypertensive patients are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events. Fifty hypertensive patients with a documented history of cerebral or cardiac events were age and gender matched to 50 hypertensive patients with no evidence of any cerebral or cardiac event. Demographic details, duration of hypertension, presence of other risk factors, and use of antihypertensive medications were recorded for each patient. Plasma levels of homocysteine were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography technology. The two groups had similar demographic parameters, with a mean age of 64.6 ± 9.4 years. Patients with cardiovascular events were more likely to be past smokers and to have been treated with calcium antagonists, aspirin, and nitrates. Homocysteine levels were 12.1 ± 5.8 μmol/L in those with documented cardiovascular disease and 11.1 ± 4.7 μmol/L in those without (P = NS). Levels of plasma homocysteine were higher in those with hypercholesterolemia (P = .03) and in smokers, and tended to be lower in those who used β-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, diuretics, and nitrates. Thus, hyperhomocysteinemia is not a feature of hypertensive patients with atherothrombotic events and there is no support for additive or synergistic effects between these two independent risk factors.
- Cerebrovascular accident
- Myocardial infarction