In moderate and severe CKD, the association of cholesterol with subsequent cardiovascular disease (CVD) is weak. We examined whether malnutrition or inflammation (M-I) modifies the risk relationship between cholesterol levels and CVD events in African Americans with hypertensive CKD and a GFR between 20 and 65 ml/min per 1.73 m2. We stratified 990 participants by the presence or absence of M-I, defined as body mass index <23 kg/m2 or C-reactive protein >10 mg/L at baseline. The primary composite outcome included cardiovascular death or first hospitalization for coronary artery disease, stroke, or congestive heart failure occurring during a median follow-up of 77 months. Baseline total cholesterol (212 ± 48 versus 212 ± 44 mg/dl) and overall incidence of the primary CVD outcome (19 versus 21%) were similar in participants with (n = 304) and without (n = 686) M-I. In adjusted analyses, the CVD composite outcome exhibited a significantly stronger relationship with total cholesterol for participants without M-I than for participants with M-I at baseline (P < 0.02). In the non-M-I group, the cholesterol-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for CVD increased progressively across cholesterol levels: HR = 1.19 [95% CI; 0.77, 1.84] and 2.18 [1.43, 3.33] in participants with cholesterol 200 to 239 and ≥240 mg/dl, respectively (reference: cholesterol <200). In the M-I group, the corresponding HRs did not vary significantly by cholesterol level. In conclusion, the presence of M-I modifies the risk relationship between cholesterol level and CVD in African Americans with hypertensive CKD.
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