Total serum cholesterol and triglycerides were measured in 159 Indian patients (134 males) with acute myocardial infarction during their stay in hospital (days 1 and 2) and 3 months later in order to assess whether lipid levels measured soon after acute myocardial infarction represent basal values. Early and 3 month lipid levels were also compared according to the sex and glucose tolerance of the patients. The mean total cholesterol levels on admission (day 1) were comparable to the 3 month values in both men (6.09 +/- 0.10 vs 6.18 +/- 0.09 mmol/l) and women (6.75 +/- 0.30 vs 6.44 +/- 0.22 mmol/l) irrespective of glucose tolerance. In the entire group cholesterol levels on day 2 were significantly lower than the admission and 3 month values. Nevertheless there was a significant correlation between day 2 and 3 month values (P less than 0.0005). Serum triglyceride levels on day 2 were influenced by glucose tolerance and were significantly lower than the 3 month values in patients with normal glucose tolerance but not in patients with abnormal glucose tolerance. However there with a significant correlation between day 2 triglyceride values in patients with both normal and abnormal glucose tolerance. These results suggest that serum cholesterol measured on admission after acute myocardial infarction may be reliably used to represent basal values in both men and women irrespective of glucose tolerance. Although cholesterol and triglycerides measured on day 2 vary with either the gender or glucose tolerance of the patients, these values are still a useful guide to the patients' basal lipid state.
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