"Poor man's risk factor": correlation between high sensitivity C-reactive protein and socio-economic class in patients of acute coronary syndrome.Indian Heart J. 2008 May-Jun; 60(3):205-9.IH
Inflammation has been proposed as one of the factors responsible for the development of coronary artery disease (CAD) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs CRP) at present is the strongest marker of inflammation. We did a study to assess the correlation of hs-CRP with socio-economic status (SES) in patients of CAD presenting as acute coronary syndrome (ACS).
Baseline hs-CRP of 490 patients of ACS was estimated by turbidimetric immunoassay. Patients were stratified by levels of hs-CRP into low (<1 mg/L); intermediate (1-3 mg/L) or high (>3 mg/L) groups and in tertiles of 0-0.39 mg/L, 0.4-1.1 mg/L and >1.1 mg/L, respectively. Classification of patient into upper (21.4%), middle (45.37 percent) and lower (33.3%) SES was based on Kuppuswami Index which includes education, income and profession. Presence or absence of traditional risk factors for CAD diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and smoking was recorded in each patient.
Mean levels of hs-CRP in lower, middle and upper SES were 2.3 +/- 2.1 mg/L, 0.8 +/- 1.7 mg/L and 1.2 +/- 1.5 mg/L, respectively. hs-CRP levels were significantly higher in low SES compared with both upper SES (p = 0.033) and middle SES (p = 0.001). Prevalence of more than one traditional CAD risk factors was seen in 13.5%, 37.5% and 67.67 percent; in patient of lower, middle and upper SES. It was observed that multiple risk factors had a linear correlation with increasing SES. Of the four traditional risk factors of CAD, smoking was the only factor which was significantly higher in lower SES (73%) as compared to middle (51.67 percent;) and upper (39.4%) SES. We found that 62.3%, 20.8% and 26.5% patients of low, middle and upper SES had hs-CRP values in the highest tertile. Median value of the Framingham risk score in low, middle and upper SES as 11, 14 and 18, respectively. We observed that at each category of Framingham risk, low SES had higher hs-CRP.
We conclude from our study that patient of lower SES have significantly higher levels of hs-CRP despite the fact that they have lesser traditional risk factors and lower Framingham risk. These findings add credit to our belief that inflammation may be an important link in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and its complications especially in patients of low SES who do not have traditional risk factors.