Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

High density lipoprotein cholesterol is not a major risk factor for ischaemic heart disease in British men.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 22 February 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:515
  1. S J Pocock,
  2. A G Shaper,
  3. A N Phillips,
  4. M Walker,
  5. T P Whitehead


    The concentration of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) in serum was measured at initial examination in a large prospective study of men aged 40-59 drawn from general practices in 24 British towns. After an average follow up of 4.2 years 193 cases of major ischaemic heart disease had been registered in 7415 men in whom both HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol values had been measured. The mean HDL cholesterol concentration was lower in the men with ischaemic heart disease ("cases") compared with other men, but the difference became small and non-significant after adjustment for age, body mass index, blood pressure, cigarette smoking, and concentration of non-HDL cholesterol. The higher mean concentration of non-HDL cholesterol in "cases" remained highly significant after adjustment for other factors. Men in the highest fifth of non-HDL cholesterol values had over three times the risk of major ischaemic heart disease compared with men in the lowest fifth. Multivariate analysis showed that non-HDL cholesterol was a more powerful predictor of risk than the HDL to total cholesterol ratio. These British findings were compared with six other prospective studies. All the larger studies showed similar results, suggesting that HDL cholesterol is not a major risk factor in the aetiology of ischaemic heart disease.