BACKGROUND: Assessment of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk is typically based on a weighted combination of standard risk factors. We sought to determine the extent to which a lipidomic approach based on red blood cell fatty acid (RBC-FA) profiles could discriminate acute coronary syndrome (ACS) cases from controls, and to compare RBC-FA discrimination with that based on standard risk factors.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: RBC-FA profiles were measured in 668 ACS cases and 680 age-, race- and gender-matched controls. Multivariable logistic regression models based on FA profiles (FA) and standard risk factors (SRF) were developed on a random 2/3(rds) derivation set and validated on the remaining 1/3(rd). The area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves (c-statistics), misclassification rates, and model calibrations were used to evaluate the individual and combined models. The FA discriminated cases from controls better than the SRF (c = 0.85 vs. 0.77, p = 0.003) and the FA profile added significantly to the standard model (c = 0.88 vs. 0.77, p<0.0001). Hosmer-Lemeshow calibration was poor for the FA model alone (p = 0.01), but acceptable for both the SRF (p = 0.30) and combined models (p = 0.22). Misclassification rates were 23%, 29% and 20% for FA, the SRF, and the combined models, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: RBC-FA profiles contribute significantly to the discrimination of ACS cases, especially when combined with standard risk factors. The utility of FA patterns in risk prediction warrants further investigation.