DHEA-S levels and cardiovascular disease mortality in postmenopausal women: Results from the National Institutes of Health - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-Sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE)

Academic Article


  • Context: Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), a major circulating sex steroid prohormone, declines with age. Low levels have been associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and all-cause mortality, although these results have not been consistently replicated, particularly in women. Objective: Our objective was to examine the association of circulating DHEA-S levels, CVD, and mortality risk among postmenopausal women with suspected myocardial ischemia. Design: In the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation, 270 postmenopausal women underwent coronary angiography and blood hormone levels for suspected ischemia and were followed annually. The primary outcome of interest was CVD mortality; secondary analyses included all-cause mortality and nonfatal CVD events (myocardial infarction, stroke, and congestive heart failure) and angiographic obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). Results: Women in the lowest DHEA-S tertile had higher CVD mortality (17% 6-yr mortality rate vs. 8%; log-rank P = 0.011), and all-cause mortality (21 vs. 10%; P = 0.011) compared with women with higher DHEA-S levels. The increased CVD mortality risk [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.19-5.45] remained unchanged after adjustment for multiple CVD risk factors (HR = 2.43; 95% CI = 1.06-5.56) but became nonsignificant when further adjusting for the presence or severity of angiographic obstructive CAD (HR = 1.99; 95% CI = 0.87-4.59). Results were similar for all-cause mortality. Lower DHEA-S levels were only marginally but not independently associated with obstructive CAD. Conclusions: Among postmenopausal women with coronary risk factors undergoing coronary angiography for suspected myocardial ischemia, lower DHEA-S levels were linked with higher CVD mortality and all-cause mortality. Our study provides valuable feasibility data useful for future investigations and possible mechanistic pathways. Copyright © 2010 by The Endocrine Society.
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    Author List

  • Shufelt C; Bretsky P; Almeida CM; Johnson BD; Shaw LJ; Azziz R; Braunstein GD; Pepine CJ; Bittner V; Vido DA
  • Start Page

  • 4985
  • End Page

  • 4992
  • Volume

  • 95
  • Issue

  • 11