Renal insufficiency is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in patients with renal disease or coronary heart disease; however, it is unknown whether renal function is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease in the general population.
We investigated whether the level of renal function, estimated by glomerular filtration rate, was associated with the risk of incident myocardial infarction among 4484 apparently healthy subjects in the Rotterdam Study (mean age, 69.6 years). We estimated the glomerular filtration rate by Cockcroft-Gault and abbreviated modification of diet in renal disease equations and used Cox regression analysis to estimate hazard ratios adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors, atherosclerosis, and medication use.
During the follow-up period (mean, 8.6 years), 218 subjects (4.9%) had a myocardial infarction. A 10 mL/min per 1.73 m(2) decrease in glomerular filtration rate was associated with a 32% increased risk of myocardial infarction (P<.001). Compared with subjects in the fourth quartile, the multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios for the risk of myocardial infarction increased from 1.64 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-2.59) in the third quartile to 1.94 (95% CI, 1.21-3.10) in the second quartile and 3.06 (95% CI, 1.80-5.19) in the quartile with the lowest glomerular filtration rate estimated by the Cockcroft-Gault equation. Using the abbreviated modification of diet in renal disease equation, the risk estimates for the third to first quartiles were 1.34 (95% CI, 0.89-2.01), 1.66 (95% CI, 1.14-2.49), and 1.90 (95% CI, 1.25-2.90), respectively.
The present study shows that renal function is a graded and independent predictor of the development of myocardial infarction in an elderly population. Early detection of decreased renal function may identify subjects who are at heightened risk of coronary heart disease.