Lower dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) levels have been inconsistently associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and mortality. Data are limited for heart failure (HF) and association between DHEA-S change and events.
Assess associations between low DHEA-S/DHEA-S change and incident HF hospitalization, CHD, and mortality in older adults.
DHEA-S was measured in stored plasma from visits 4 (1996–1998) and 5 (2011–2013) of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Follow-up for incident events: 18 years for DHEA-S level; 5.5 years for DHEA-S change.
Individuals without prevalent cardiovascular disease (n = 8143, mean age 63 years).
Main outcome measure
Associations between DHEA-S and incident HF hospitalization, CHD, or mortality; associations between 15-year change in DHEA-S (n = 3706) and cardiovascular events.
DHEA-S below the 15th sex-specific percentile of the study population (men: 55.4 µg/dL; women: 27.4 µg/dL) was associated with increased HF hospitalization (men: hazard ratio [HR] 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07–1.58; women: HR 1.42, 95% CI, 1.13–1.79); DHEA-S below the 25th sex-specific percentile (men: 70.0 µg/dL; women: 37.1 µg/dL) was associated with increased death (men: HR 1.12, 95% CI, 1.01–1.25; women: HR 1.19, 95% CI, 1.03–1.37). In men, but not women, greater percentage decrease in DHEA-S was associated with increased HF hospitalization (HR 1.94, 95% CI, 1.11–3.39). Low DHEA-S and change in DHEA-S were not associated with incident CHD.
Low DHEA-S is associated with increased risk for HF and mortality but not CHD. Further investigation is warranted to evaluate mechanisms underlying these associations.