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Proton NMR analysis of plasma is a weak predictor of coronary artery disease

An Erratum to this article was published on 01 July 2006


Multivariate analysis of 1H-NMR spectra of blood sera was reported previously to predict angiographically defined advanced coronary artery disease (CAD) with >90% accuracy and specificity. The analysis depended mainly on the major lipid regions of the spectra, but many variables, including gender and drug treatment, affect lipid composition and are potential confounders. We have determined the predictive power of the same methodology for angiographically defined CAD using plasma samples from groups of male patients, classified by statin treatment, who had normal coronary arteries (NCAs) or CAD. Predictions for NCA and CAD groups were only 80.3% correct for patients not treated with statins and 61.3% for treated patients, compared with random correct predictions of 50%. A confidence limit of >99% was achieved for 36.2% of predictions for untreated groups and 6.2% for treated groups. Detection of CAD by 1H-NMR with >99% confidence was therefore very weak compared with angiography.

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Figure 1: 1H-NMR spectra and multivariate analyses comparing groups of male and female patients.
Figure 2: Model scores for multivariate analyses comparing groups of male and female patients and groups untreated and treated with statins.
Figure 3: Model scores for multivariate analyses comparing groups of male NCA and TVD patients not treated with statins.


  1. NOTE: In the version of this article initially published, the layout of the data in Tables 1 and 2 is incorrect. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


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This study was funded by a Co-operative Group grant from the Medical Research Council (to J.C.M.) and a grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (to K.M.B.). Sample collections were funded by grants from the Dr Scholl Foundation, Chicago (to P.M.S.) and from NeoRx Corporation, Seattle (to A.A.G.). J.L.G. is a Royal Society University Research Fellow.

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H.L.K. performed experimental design, data collection and analysis. J.L.G. and K.M.B. performed experimental design and data analysis. A.A.G. and P.M.S. led clinical trials for plasma sample collections. J.C.M. performed experimental design and data analysis, and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to James C Metcalfe.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Table 1

Baseline data for patient groups. (PDF 45 kb)

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Kirschenlohr, H., Griffin, J., Clarke, S. et al. Proton NMR analysis of plasma is a weak predictor of coronary artery disease. Nat Med 12, 705–710 (2006).

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