Low Free Testosterone Levels Are Associated With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality in Postmenopausal Diabetic Women

  1. Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, MD1
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany
  3. 3Department of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Mannheim Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
  4. 4Synlab Center of Laboratory Diagnostics, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany
  5. 5Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Medicine, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria
  1. Corresponding author: Elisabeth Wehr, elisabeth.wehr{at}medunigraz.at.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE Hyperandrogenemia is associated with cardiovascular risk factors in women but evidence about the relationship of testosterone levels with mortality is sparse. We aimed to evaluate whether total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT), and sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) are associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in a cohort of postmenopausal women.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We measured TT and SHBG levels in 875 postmenopausal women who were referred for coronary angiography (during 1997–2000). FT was calculated according to the Vermeulen method. The main outcome measures were Cox proportional hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality from all causes and from cardiovascular causes.

RESULTS After a median follow-up time of 7.7 years, 179 women (20.5%) had died. There were 101 deaths due to cardiovascular disease (56.4% of all deaths). We found no association of FT, TT, and SHBG levels with mortality in all postmenopausal women. In postmenopausal diabetic women, multivariable-adjusted HRs (with 95% CIs) in the fourth compared with the first FT quartile for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality were 0.38 (0.08–0.90), P = 0.025, and 0.28 (0.08–0.90), P = 0.032, respectively. We found no association of TT and SHBG with mortality in diabetic postmenopausal women.

CONCLUSIONS In postmenopausal diabetic women referred for coronary angiography, low FT levels are independently associated with increased all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

Footnotes

  • Received March 29, 2011.
  • Accepted May 18, 2011.

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