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Journal of The American Heart Association


Background: Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a metabolite derived from gut microbes and dietary phosphatidylcholine, is linked to both coronary artery disease pathogenesis and increased cardiovascular risks. The ability of plasma TMAO to predict 5-year mortality risk in patients with stable coronary artery disease has not been reported. This study examined the clinical prognostic value of TMAO in patients with stable coronary artery disease who met eligibility criteria for a patient cohort similar to that of the Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive Drug Evaluation (COURAGE) trial. Methods and Results: We examined the relationship between fasting plasma TMAO and all-cause mortality over 5-year follow-up in sequential patients with stable coronary artery disease (n=2235) who underwent elective coronary angiography. We identified the COURAGE-like patient cohort as patients who had evidence of significant coronary artery stenosis and who were managed with optimal medical treatment. Higher plasma TMAO levels were associated with a 4-fold increased mortality risk. Following adjustments for traditional risk factors, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and estimated glomerular filtration rate, elevated TMAO levels remained predictive of 5-year all-cause mortality risk (quartile 4 versus 1, adjusted hazard ratio 1.95, 95% CI 1.33–2.86; P=0.003). TMAO remained predictive of incident mortality risk following cardiorenal and inflammatory biomarker adjustments to the model (adjusted hazard ratio 1.71, 95% CI 1.11–2.61; P=0.0138) and provided significant incremental prognostic value for all-cause mortality (net reclassification index 42.37%, P<0.001; improvement in area under receiver operator characteristic curve 70.6–73.76%, P<0.001). Conclusions: Elevated plasma TMAO levels portended higher long-term mortality risk among patients with stable coronary artery disease managed with optimal medical treatment.


This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements (R01HL103866, P20HL113452, R01DK106000). The GeneBank study has been supported by NIH grants P01HL076491, R01HL103931, and the Cleveland Clinic Clinical Research Unit of the Case Western Reserve University CTSA (UL1TR 000439).




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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License





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