Effects of older age on fibrin D-dimer, C-reactive protein, and other hemostatic and inflammatory variables in men aged 60-79 years.
Rumley A., Emberson JR., Wannamethee SG., Lennon L., Whincup PH., Lowe GD.
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that several hemostatic and inflammatory variables, which are risk predictors for arterial or venous thrombosis, increase with age. However, there is a lack of data from large population studies for reliable estimates of reference ranges. OBJECTIVES: To establish reliable reference ranges of hemostatic and inflammatory variables for 5-year age groups in older men and their implications for pathogenesis and diagnosis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 3861 men aged 60-79 years at the 20 years follow-up of the British Regional Heart Study. RESULTS: Several variables increased with age. The greatest median increases between 60-64 and 75-79 years age groups were observed for fibrin D-dimer (91%) and C-reactive protein (CRP) (57%). Significant median increases were also observed for von Willebrand factor antigen (23%), tissue plasminogen activator antigen (11%), factor VIII (10%), and fibrinogen (8%). In contrast, levels of classical cardiovascular risk factors neither decreased nor increased substantially with age, with the exception of systolic blood pressure (median increase 10%). CONCLUSIONS: The exponential increases in risk of arterial and venous thrombotic events in men between age 60 and 79 years (when most such events occur) may be related in part to increasing activation of blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, and inflammation; possibly related to the increasing inflammatory burden of both atherosclerotic and non-vascular disease. These increases also have implications for diagnosis of suspected acute venous thromboembolism (D-dimer), and recently proposed screening for prediction of coronary heart disease risk and detection of occult disease (CRP).