The importance of cardiovascular risk markers arises from the fact that cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death. Many patients who have a cardiovascular event or are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease have normal, or at least not highly abnormal, lipid levels.
A prospective study of nearly 28,000 healthy middle-aged women showed that 77% of cardiovascular events occurred in those with LDL-C values below 160 mg/dL while 46% occurred in those with levels below 130 mg/dL. Thus, in this study, traditional lipid screening protocols failed to identify many patients as high-risk.
For these reasons, there has been an ongoing effort to develop novel cardiovascular risk markers. The goal of this research is to uncover biomarkers that can be easily measured but will serve as reliable windows into the patient's overall cardiovascular health. With such markers we could identify which patients are at high-risk for adverse cardiovascular events before they have these events. And, hopefully, we could treat the patients and monitor the novel biomarker to see if the treatment is working.