Ceramide Scores Predict Cardiovascular Risk in the Community

Vlad C. Vasile, Jeffrey W. Meeusen, Jose R. Medina Inojosa, Leslie J. Donato, Christopher G. Scott, Meredith S. Hyun, Manlio Vinciguerra, Richard R. Rodeheffer, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Allan S. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Ceramide scores have been associated with adverse outcomes in patients with established coronary artery disease. The prognostic value of ceramide score has not been assessed in the general population. We tested the hypothesis that ceramide scores are associated with major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in a community-based cohort with average coronary artery disease burden at enrollment. Approach and results: In a prospective community-based cohort, we performed passive follow-up using a record linkage system to ascertain the composite outcome of MACE, defined as acute myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization (bypass grafting or percutaneous intervention), stroke, or death. Ceramides were analyzed as log-transformed continuous variables, ratios or scores, and quartiles with adjustment for confounders. We analyzed 1131 subjects, 52% females, mean age±(SD) 64±9 years. After a median follow-up of 13.3 years (Q1, 12.7; Q3, 14.4), 486 patients experienced a MACE: myocardial infarction (80), coronary artery bypass surgery (34), percutaneous coronary intervention (62), stroke (94), and all-cause death (362). Ceramide ratios were significantly associated with MACE independently of LDL-c (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and conventional coronary artery disease risk factors. Those in the highest quartile of ceramide score had nearly 1.5-fold risk of MACE, hazard ratio, 1.47 (95% CI, 1.12-1.92). There was a dose-response association across quartiles of ceramide ratios and MACE. Conclusions: Elevated ceramide score is a robust predictor of cardiovascular disease and MACE in the community. The risk conferred by the ceramide score has a dose-response behavior and is independent of conventional risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1558-1569
Number of pages12
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular disease
  • ceramide
  • coronary artery disease
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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