Assessment of homocysteine as a cardiovascular risk factor in clinical practice.
Clarke R., Stansbie D.
Elevated plasma total homocysteine concentrations are a marker of vitamin deficiency and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is possible that vitamin supplementation with folic acid and other B vitamins, which lower plasma homocysteine concentrations, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Large-scale clinical trials are currently underway to assess the homocysteine hypothesis of cardiovascular disease. Pending the outcome of such trials, measurement of plasma homocysteine concentrations in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease may help to identify patients who could benefit from more intensive treatment of classical cardiovascular risk factors. The introduction of immunoassays for homocysteine determination has made assessment of homocysteine status accessible to most routine hospital laboratories, and this review summarizes the evidence on why and how to assess homocysteine as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in clinical practice.