Mr. Salazar: Check your Lp(a) 9. July 2007 William Davis (8) Marathon star Alberto Salazar was just released from the hospital following a heart attack and a heart catheterization that led to a stent. The MSNBC version of the report can be viewed at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19653682/.At 48 years old and holder of several American records for marathon times, Salazar's story is eerily reminiscent of Jim Fixx, who died at age 52 after writing a bestselling book, The Complete Book of Running. Thankfully, Salazar's story has a happier ending. Fixx died at a time when prevention of heart disease was quite primitive. Lipoprotein analysis was not broadly available to the public, CT heart scans had not yet been invented. Even statin drugs were just a gleam in the pharmaceutical industry's eye. But not so with Salazar. This Cuban-born marathoner experienced his heart attack at at a time when enormously useful steps can be taken to 1) document the extent of disease with a CT heart scan (the presence of a stent just means that one artery can't be "scored"), and 2) identify the causes of his disease.I suspect that the fact that yet another marathoner in the limelight will once again prompt the (likely non-sensical) conversation about long-distance running and the increased risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, I fear that the real cause will be left unidentfied and untreated: Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a).It's almost certain that Fixx had Lp(a), given the fact that his dad had a heart attack at age 35. Running simply postponed the untreated inevitable.I hope Mr. Salazar is surrounded by doctors who have his true interests in mind (not just procedural excitement) and ask the crucial question: Why? The answer is almost certain to be Lp(a).