Background. Microalbuminuria (MA) is a known predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in European origin populations, but such data are lacking in native Indo-Asian populations, where CVD risks are high. Major electrocardiographic (ECG) changes are predictive of cardiovascular mortality. We determined the association of MA with major ECG changes in the general population of Pakistan.
Methods. A total of 3143 subjects aged ≥40 years from 12 randomly selected communities in Karachi participated. MA was defined as the urine albumin to creatinine (ACR) ratio of < 300 mg/g creatinine and ≥17 mg/g in men and ≥25 mg/g in women from a single-spot morning urine sample. Major changes on ECG were coded in duplicate using Minnesota classification.
Results. The mean age of subjects was 51.5 (10.7) years. The median (25–75 percentile) ACR was 4.2 (2.9–7.9) mg/g in men and 6.0 (3.9–10.8) mg/g in women (P < 0.001). The overall prevalence (95% CI) of MA was 12.3% (11.1–13.5%), and 20.3% in those with major ECG changes. In a multivariable model, major ECG changes (OR, 95% CI) (1.50, 1.10–2.00), diabetes (3.57, 2.93–4.35), hypertension (2.30, 1.85–2.86), female sex (0.61, 0.53–0.69), age (1.09, 1.05–1.13, for each 5-year increase) and eGFR (0.80, 0.78–0.81, for each 10 mg/g increase) were independently associated with MA.
The presence of MA increased the prevalence of major ECG changes from 21 to 31% in those with hypertension (44.9%), 15 to 28% among those with diabetes (21.4%), 14 to 26% among those with overweight or obesity (68.4%) and 14 to 26% among current users of tobacco (38.7%) (P < 0.001) each.
Conclusions. The strong association between MA and major ECG changes underscores the importance of screening Indo-Asian subjects for MA for unmasking underlying CVD, especially those with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and tobacco users.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease, ethnicity, hypertension, microalbuminuria