The aim of this study was to investigate the possible relationship between serum total sialic acid (TSA) concentration, recently shown to be a cardiovascular risk factor, and lipid and protein oxidation and antioxidant status and the severity of coronary artery disease (CAD) according to the obstructive vessel number in patients. The study was carried out on a total of 200 patients (142 men and 58 women) who were hospitalized for elective coronary angiographic evaluation with complaint of typical angina pectoris. According to the results of angiography, 150 patients had angiographically proven CAD (CAD group) and 50 patients had a history suggestive of angina pectoris but normal coronary angiograms (control group). The CAD group was further divided into single-, double- and triple-vessel disease groups according to the number of vessels involved. Lipid parameters were determined by routine laboratory methods. Plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) and vitamin E concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. TSA and other oxidant and antioxidant parameters were studied spectrophotometrically. Our results demonstrated significant increases both in TSA levels and in indicators of oxidative stress in the patients with CAD compared with the controls. However, antioxidant parameters were decreased in the patients with CAD. We found strong positive correlations between TSA and plasma MDA, Delta-MDA which represents the degree of oxidative modification of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins, serum protein carbonyls and apolipoprotein B and weak correlations between TSA and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, triacylglycerol, paraoxonase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), vitamin C and vitamin E. In conclusion, TSA is related to markers of lipid and protein oxidation, paraoxonase and GPx activities, vitamin C and E levels and the severity of CAD. Copyright (C) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.