Psychosocial stress is a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). The mechanisms are incompletely understood, although dysfunction of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis might be involved. We examined the association between cortisol responses to laboratory-induced mental stress and the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC).
Methods and Results
Participants were 466 healthy men and women (mean age = 62.7±5.6 yrs), without history or objective signs of CHD, drawn from the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort. At the baseline assessment salivary cortisol was measured in response to mental stressors, consisting of a 5-min Stroop task and a 5-min mirror tracing task. CAC was measured at baseline and at 3 years follow up using electron beam computed tomography. CAC progression was defined as an increase >10 Agatston units between baseline and follow up. 38.2% of the sample demonstrated CAC progression over the 3 years follow up. There was considerable variation in the cortisol stress response, with approximately 40% of the sample responding to the stress tasks with an increase in cortisol of at least 1 mmol/l. There was an association between cortisol stress reactivity (per SD) and CAC progression (odds ratio = 1.27, 95% CI, 1.02–1.60) after adjustments for age, sex, pre-stress cortisol, employment grade, smoking, resting systolic BP, fibrinogen, body mass index, and use of statins. There was no association between systolic blood pressure reactivity and CAC progression (odds ratio per SD increase = 1.03, 95% CI, 0.85–1.24). Other independent predictors of CAC progression included age, male sex, smoking, resting systolic blood pressure, and fibrinogen.
Results demonstrate an association between heightened cortisol reactivity to stress and CAC progression. These data support the notion that cortisol reactivity, an index of HPA function, is one of the possible mechanisms through which psychosocial stress may influence the risk of CHD.
Sex differences in cardiovascular disease mortality are more pronounced among non-Hispanic whites than other racial/ethnic groups, but it is unknown whether this variation is present in the earlier subclinical stages of disease. The authors examined racial/ethnic variation in sex differences in coronary artery calcification (CAC) and carotid intimal media thickness at baseline in 2000–2002 among participants (n = 6,726) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis using binomial and linear regression. Models adjusted for risk factors in several stages: age, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, behavioral risk factors, psychosocial factors, and adult socioeconomic position. Women had a lower prevalence of any CAC and smaller amounts of CAC when present than men in all racial/ethnic groups. Sex differences in the prevalence of CAC were more pronounced in non-Hispanic whites than in African Americans and Chinese Americans after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, and further adjustment for behavioral factors, psychosocial factors, and socioeconomic position did not modify these results (for race/sex, Pinteraction = 0.047). Similar patterns were observed for amount of CAC among adults with CAC. Racial/ethnic variation in sex differences for carotid intimal media thickness was less pronounced. In conclusion, coronary artery calcification is differentially patterned by sex across racial/ethnic groups.
calcification, physiologic; continental population groups; coronary vessels; sex; social class
Short stature is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD); although the mechanisms for this relationship are unknown, shared genetic factors have been proposed. Subclinical atherosclerosis, measured by coronary artery calcification (CAC), is associated with CHD events and represents part of the biological continuum to overt CHD. Many molecular mechanisms of CAC development are shared with bone growth. Thus, we examined whether there was evidence of shared genes (pleiotropy) between adult stature and CAC.
877 asymptomatic white adults (46% men) from 625 families in a community-based sample had computed tomography measures of CAC. Pleiotropy between height and CAC was determined using maximum-likelihood estimation implemented in SOLAR.
Adult height was significantly and inversely associated with CAC score (P=0.01). After adjusting for age, sex, and CHD risk factors, the estimated genetic correlation between height and CAC score was -0.37 and was significantly different than 0 (P=0.001) and -1 (P<0.001). The environmental correlation between height and CAC score was 0.60 and was significantly different than 0 (P=0.024).
Further studies of shared genetic factors between height and CAC may provide important insight into the complex genetic architecture of CHD, in part through increased understanding of the molecular pathways underlying the process of both normal growth and disease development. Bivariate genetic linkage analysis may provide a powerful mechanism for identifying specific genomic regions associated with both height and CAC.
Genetics; Atherosclerosis; Calcium; Imaging; Stature
Extended walking speed is a predictor of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in older individuals, but the ability of an objective short-distance walking speed test to stratify the severity of preclinical conditions remains unclear. This study examined whether performance in an 8-ft walking speed test is associated with metabolic risk factors and subclinical atherosclerosis.
530 adults (aged 63±6 years, 50.3% male) from the Whitehall II cohort study with no known history or objective signs of CVD.
Electron beam computed tomography and ultrasound was used to assess the presence and extent of coronary artery calcification (CAC) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), respectively.
High levels of CAC (Agatston score >100) were detected in 24% of the sample; the mean IMT was 0.75 mm (SD 0.15). Participants with no detectable CAC completed the walking course 0.16 s (95% CI 0.04 to 0.28) faster than those with CAC ≥400. Objectively assessed, but not self-reported, faster walking speed was associated with a lower risk of high CAC (odds ratio 0.62, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.96) and lower IMT (β=−0.04, 95% CI −0.01 to −0.07 mm) in comparison with the slowest walkers (bottom third), after adjusting for conventional risk factors. Faster walking speed was also associated with lower adiposity, C-reactive protein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Short-distance walking speed is associated with metabolic risk and subclinical atherosclerosis in older adults without overt CVD. These data suggest that a non-aerobically challenging walking test reflects the presence of underlying vascular disease.
Ageing; atherosclerosis; computed tomography scanning; epidemiology; exercise testing; gait speed; imaging; physical function; risk stratification
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) are measures of subclinical vascular disease. This 2000–2006 study aimed to characterize the associations among coronary artery disease risk factors, CAC quantity, and CIMT and to estimate shared genetic and environmental contributions to both CAC and CIMT among 478 asymptomatic Amish adults in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Heritability for CAC quantity and CIMT, adjusted for age and sex, was 0.42 (P = 0.0001) and 0.29 (P = 0.003), respectively. CAC quantity and CIMT were modestly correlated (adjusted r = 0.14, P = 0.003) but showed little evidence of shared genetic or environmental factors. However, significant genetic correlations were found for CAC quantity and total cholesterol (0.44 (standard error, 0.19); P = 0.03), for CAC quantity and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (0.55 (standard error, 0.17); P = 0.005), and for CIMT and waist circumference (0.58 (standard error, 0.25); P = 0.046), suggesting shared genes for these risk factors and measures of subclinical disease. Results suggest that some of the same genes influence variation in CAC and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, whereas a different set of genes influences variation in CIMT and waist circumference.
atherosclerosis; calcification, physiologic; carotid arteries; coronary vessels; genetics; risk factors; vascular diseases
Comparison of atherosclerosis and its risk factors among diverse populations may provide insights into the pathogenesis of the disease. We investigated differences in traditional coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors and presence and quantity of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis, between two diverse non-Hispanic white populations living in the US.
Methods and Results
Members of the Old Order Amish (OOA), a unique culture with a physically active rural lifestyle who rarely use prescription medications, were compared to another non-Hispanic white population with a more typical US lifestyle, Epidemiology of Coronary Artery Calcification (ECAC) Study participants from Rochester, Minnesota. Although age- and sex-adjusted presence and quantity of CAC in those with detectable CAC were similar between study groups, there were significant differences in the distribution of many traditional CAD risk factors. OOA had significantly less abdominal adiposity and history of cigarette smoking but a less advantageous lipid profile than ECAC participants. Importantly, after adjusting for CAD risk factors, presence of CAC and quantity of CAC among those with detectable CAC were significantly higher among OOA than ECAC participants.
Identification of factors contributing to differences in subclinical disease across groups could increase our understanding of mechanisms for coronary atherosclerosis.
Coronary Artery Calcification; Atherosclerosis; Epidemiology; Risk Factors; Imaging; Lifestyle
Both American and European guidelines recommend coronary artery calcification (CAC) as a tool for screening asymptomatic individuals at intermediate risk. These recommendations are based on epidemiological studies mostly in the United States (U.S.). We review (1) the use of CAC in primary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the U.S., (2) epidemiological studies of CAC in asymptomatic adults outside of the U.S., and (3) international epidemiological studies of CAC. This review does not consider clinical studies of CAC among patients or symptomatic individuals. Studies in the U.S. have documented that CAC is a strong independent predictor of CHD for both sexes, middle- to old-age groups, various ethnic groups, and diabetics and non-diabetics and that CAC plays an important role in reclassifying individuals at intermediate into high risk. Studies in Europe support these conclusions. The Electron-Beam Tomography, Risk factor Assessment among Japanese and U.S. men in the post-World-War-II birth cohort (ERA JUMP) Study is the first international research comparing subclinical atherosclerosis including CAC in Japanese, Japanese Americans, Koreas, and Caucasians. The study has demonstrated that Japanese had lower levels of atherosclerosis compared to Caucasians whereas Japanese Americans compared to Caucasians had similar or higher levels. CAC is being established as a screening tool for asymptomatic individuals in Europe and the U.S. CAC is a powerful research tool, enabling us to describe the difference in atherosclerotic burden across populations. Such research could elucidate factors responsible for the population difference, which may lead to prevention of CHD.
Accruing evidence supports the hypothesis that psychosocial factors are related to cardiovascular disease. However, a limited number of studies have investigated the pathophysiologic pathways through which these associations occur. The purpose of this study was to assess whether experiences of self-reported racial discrimination and reactions to unfair treatment were associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC), an indicator of subclinical coronary heart disease (CHD).
This cross-sectional study recruited 571 subjects (45 years and older) who were asymptomatic of CHD from Fort Worth, Texas from 2006 to 2008. Subjects completed a questionnaire, a multi-slice computed tomography scan to assess for CAC presence (measured as Agatston score >0), and serum chemistries. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between self-reported discrimination and CAC. Results were stratified by response to unfair treatment as it was found to significantly modify the relationship between discrimination and CAC.
Among those who passively responded to unfair treatment, the odds of having CAC present were approximately 3 times higher for those experiencing discrimination (OR, 2.95; 95% CI, 1.19-7.32) after adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, body mass index, hyperlipidemia, smoking status, hypertension, diabetes, and first degree relative with heart disease.
This is the first multi-racial/ethnic study to find racial discrimination associated with CAC, which differs based on how one responds to unfair treatment.
The absence of coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a marker of very low cardiovascular risk. Endothelial cells may have an effect on the initiation and propagation of arterial calcification. We aimed to identify the relationship between the absence of CAC and endothelial function in individuals without cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Methods and Results
CAC was assessed using electron-beam computed tomography and the calcium score was then computed. Endothelial function was measured by assessing reactive hyperemia-induced vasodilation and expressed by the reactive hyperemia index (RHI). Of 82 patients, 39 had non-detectable calcium (CAC score=0) and 43 had a CAC score >0. In the CAC score=0 group, the prevalence of normal endothelial function was 84.6%, compared to 48.8% in the CAC score >0 group, P=0.001. The absence of CAC was highly correlated with normal endothelial function (γ=0.704, P<0.001). On average, endothelial function was significantly better in the CAC score=0 group than in the CAC score >0 group (RHI 2.2±0.6 vs. 1.8±0.5, P=0.002). In a multivariate logistic regression model, only normal endothelial function (odds ratio [OR] 5.03, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.55–16.27, P=0.007) and age (years) (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.86–0.96, P=0.002) were independently associated with the absence of CAC.
Normal functional status of the vasculature may be important for the prevention of coronary calcification and may partly account for the low cardiovascular risk of absent CAC. (Circ J 2012; 76: 2705 – 2710)
Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcium; Electron-beam computed tomography; Endothelial function
The Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study, an observational follow-up of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) type 1 diabetes cohort, measured coronary artery calcification (CAC), an index of atherosclerosis, with computed tomography (CT) in 1,205 EDIC patients at ~7–9 years after the end of the DCCT. We examined the influence of the 6.5 years of prior conventional versus intensive diabetes treatment during the DCCT, as well as the effects of cardiovascular disease risk factors, on CAC. The prevalences of CAC >0 and >200 Agatston units were 31.0 and 8.5%, respectively. Compared with the conventional treatment group, the intensive group had significantly lower geometric mean CAC scores and a lower prevalence of CAC >0 in the primary retinopathy prevention cohort, but not in the secondary intervention cohort, and a lower prevalence of CAC >200 in the combined cohorts. Waist-to-hip ratio, smoking, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia, before or at the time of CT, were significantly associated with CAC in univariate and multivariate analyses. CAC was associated with mean HbA1c (A1C) levels before enrollment, during the DCCT, and during the EDIC study. Prior intensive diabetes treatment during the DCCT was associated with less atherosclerosis, largely because of reduced levels of A1C during the DCCT.
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) and Metabolic Syndrome (MS) have been associated with increased cardiovascular risk. The study objective was to examine the association of MS with CAC presence and progression in renal transplant recipients.
We measured CAC progression in asymptomatic recipients who had no prior history of coronary artery disease.
MS was common (55.4%). Median CAC scores were 0, 33.1, 98, and 261.9 for patients with 1, 2, 3, and 4 or more positive components of the MS, respectively. Severe CAC scores were more common in recipients with MS (p=0.04). Although recipients with MS had higher mean CAC scores at baseline and significant CAC progression [483 (590.6) vs. 619(813.8), p=0.01 ], MS was not an independent predictor of annualized rate of CAC change in a multivariate model
Future studies to evaluate if MS treatment improves cardiovascular outcomes are imperative.
renal transplant; coronary calcification; metabolic syndrome
Body fat distribution may be differentially associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease. We sought to examine whether body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue are associated with either prevalence of coronary (CAC) or abdominal aortic calcium (AAC) in the Framingham Heart Study. Participants (n=3130, mean age 52 years, 49% women) free of clinical cardiovascular disease from the Framingham Heart Study underwent multidetector computed tomography assessment for quantification of subcutaneous and visceral fat volume and coronary and abdominal aortic calcification. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) were examined in relation to BMI, WC, SAT, and VAT in age- sex- and multivariable-adjusted models. All measures of adiposity were associated with CAC in age-sex adjusted models (all p-values<0.008). All relations were attenuated in multivariable models (all p-value>0.14). BMI, WC, and VAT (but not SAT) were associated with abdominal aortic calcification in age- sex-adjusted models (all p-values<0.012). However, all relations were attenuated in multivariable models (all p-values>0.23). Similar findings were observed in quartile-based analyses. In conclusion, general measures of obesity and measures of central abdominal fat are related to CAC and AAC. However, these cross-sectional associations are attenuated by cardiovascular disease risk factors, possibly because they may mediate the association between adiposity measures and subclinical cardiovascular disease.
visceral fat; subcutaneous fat; obesity; calcification; epidemiology; risk factors
Modern imaging technology allows us the visualization of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis. The prevalence, quantity, and risk factors for CAC were compared between two studies with similar imaging protocols but different source populations: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study (HNR).
Methods and results
The measured CAC in 2220 MESA participants were compared with those in 3126 HNR participants with the inclusion criteria such as age 45–75 years, Caucasian race, and free of baseline cardiovascular disease. Despite similar mean levels of CAC of 244.6 among participants in MESA and of 240.3 in HNR (P = 0.91), the prevalence of CAC > 0 was lower in MESA (52.6%) compared with HNR (67.0%) with a prevalence rate ratio of CAC > 0 of 0.78 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.72–0.85] after adjustment for known risk factors. Consequently, among participants with CAC > 0, the participants in MESA tended to have higher levels of CAC than those in HNR (ratio of CAC levels: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.19–1.63), since many HNR participants have small (near zero) CAC values.
The CAC prevalence was lower in the United States (MESA) cohort than in the German (HNR) cohort, which may be explained by more favourable risk factor levels among the MESA participants. The predictors for increased levels of CAC were, however, similar in both cohorts with the exception that male gender, blood pressure, and body mass index were more strongly associated in the HNR cohort.
Epidemiology; Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcium; Risk factors; Screening
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) has been associated with psychosocial factors in some but not all cross-sectional analyses. The goal of this study was to determine whether positive and negative psychosocial factors prospectively predict CAC progression in postmenopausal women.
Participants from the Healthy Women Study who also participated in the Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center protocol (n = 149) completed self-report psychosocial measures prior to two electron beam tomography scans of CAC separated by an average of 3.3 years. Results of exploratory factor analysis were used to create aggregate psychosocial indices: Psychological Risk (depressive symptoms, perceived stress, cynicism, anger-in) and Psychosocial Resources (optimism, purpose in life, mastery, self-esteem, and social support).
The Psychological Risk index predicted significantly greater CAC progression over three years (β = .16, p = .035, ΔR2 = .03) while the Psychosocial Resources index was not predictive of CAC progression (β = -.08, p = .30, ΔR2 = .01). On individual scales, higher scores on cynicism emerged as a significant predictor of CAC progression, along with a trend linking anger-in to atherosclerosis progression. A post-hoc analysis showed a significant interaction between cynicism and anger-in (β =.20, p = .01, ΔR2 = .03), such that women reporting high levels of both cynicism and anger suppression exhibited the most CAC progression.
These findings highlight psychosocial risk factors that may accelerate the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis in older women, suggest the potential importance of examining combinations of psychosocial risk factors, and represent potential targets for psychological interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk.
coronary atherosclerosis; psychosocial; atherosclerosis; women
Few studies have investigated the association of socioeconomic status (SES) and coronary artery calcification (CAC) and only one study has examined African Americans separately from Caucasians, despite empirical evidence suggesting that blacks have equivalent or lower CAC, relative to whites. We tested the hypotheses that lower childhood SES and lower average education, occupation, and income and change in SES (slope) in adulthood are related to risk of CAC in blacks and whites in the US CARDIA study. Parental education and occupation were measured at study entry (Year 0 in 1985–1986) and participant education, occupation, and household income were evaluated multiple times throughout a 20 year follow-up period at four sites in the United States. CAC was measured at Year 20 in 3138 (45% black) participants in CARDIA; 19% had CAC. Latent growth models and multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for the major risk factors for CAC. Multivariate models showed that lower paternal education in blacks and lower maternal occupational status in the full sample and in whites were related to higher risk of any CAC, independent of adult SES. Lower average adult education, occupation, and income were related to higher risk of any CAC, with the effects primarily in blacks. Our results are the first to show that SES, measured retrospectively and prospectively in multiple ways, is related to CAC, and the first to document the effects primarily in blacks.
atherosclerosis; coronary calcium; risk factors; socioeconomic status; life course; African American; ethnicity; USA
Hypertension during pregnancy (HDP) increases the risk of future coronary heart disease (CHD), but it is unknown whether this association is mediated by renal injury. Reduced renal function is both a complication of HDP and a risk factor for CHD.
Logistic regression models were fit to examine the association between a history of HDP and the presence and extent of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a measure of subclinical coronary artery atherosclerosis, in 498 women from the Epidemiology of Coronary Artery Calcification Study (mean age 63.3 ± 9.3 years).
Fifty-two (10.4%) women reported a history of HDP. After adjusting for age at time of study participation, HDP was associated with increased serum creatinine later in life (p = 0.014). HDP was positively associated with the presence of CAC after adjusting for age at time of study participation (OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.4-5.4). This association was slightly attenuated with adjustment for body size and blood pressure (OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.2-4.9) but was not further attenuated with adjustment for serum creatinine and urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (OR = 2.6, 95% CI 1.3-5.3). Results were similar for CAC extent.
HDP may increase a woman's risk of future CHD beyond traditional risk factors and renal function. Women with a history of HDP should be monitored for potential increased risk of CHD as they age.
Coronary artery disease has been linked with genotypes for haptoglobin (Hp) which modulates extracorpuscular hemoglobin. We hypothesized that the Hp genotype would predict progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis.
CAC was measured three times in six years among 436 subjects with type 1 diabetes and 526 control subjects participating in the Coronary Artery Calcification in Type 1 Diabetes (CACTI) study. Hp typing was performed on plasma samples by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
The Hp 2-2 genotype predicted development of significant CAC only in subjects with diabetes who were free of CAC at baseline (OR: 1.95, 95% CI: 1.07-3.56, p = 0.03), compared to those without the Hp 2-2 genotype, controlling for age, sex, blood pressure and HDL-cholesterol. Hp 2 appeared to have an allele-dose effect on development of CAC. Hp genotype did not predict CAC progression in individuals without diabetes.
Hp genotype may aid prediction of accelerated coronary atherosclerosis in subjects with type 1 diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease; type 1 diabetes mellitus; coronary artery calcium; hyperglycemia; genetics; Haptoglobin
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is associated with increased mortality risk in the general population. Although individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at markedly increased mortality risk, the incidence, prevalence, and prognosis of CAC in CKD is not well-understood.
Cross-sectional observational study.
Setting and Participants
Analysis of 1,908 participants who underwent coronary calcium scanning as part of the multi-ethnic CRIC (Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort) Study.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) computed using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study equation, stratified by race, sex and diabetic status. eGFR was treated as a continous variable and a categorical variable compared to the reference range of >60 ml/min/1.73 m2
CAC detected using CT scans using either an Imatron C-300 electron beam computed tomography scanner or multi-detector CT scanner. CAC was computed using the Agatston score, as a categorical variable. Analyses were performed using ordinal logistic regression.
We found a strong and graded relationship between lower eGFR and increasing CAC. In unadjusted models, ORs increased from 1.68 (95% CI, 1.23–2.31) for eGFR from 50–59 to 2.82 (95% CI, 2.06–3.85) for eGFR of <30. Multivariable adjustment only partially attenuated the results (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.07–2.20) for eGFR<30.
Use of eGFR rather than measured GFR.
We demonstrated a graded relationship between severity of CKD and CAC, independent of traditional risk factors. These findings supports recent guidelines that state that if vascular calcification is present, it should be considered as a complementary component to be included in the decision making required for individualizing treatment of CKD.
To determine the association of fetuin-A with subclinical CVD in community-living individuals.
Fetuin-A is a hepatic secretory protein that inhibits arterial calcium deposition in vitro. Lower fetuin-A levels are associated with arterial calcification and death in end-stage renal disease populations. The association of fetuin-A with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population is unknown.
Among 1,375 community-living individuals without prevalent clinical CVD, we measured plasma fetuin-A concentrations measured by ELISA. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) was defined by ankle brachial index (ABI) < 0.90, coronary artery calcification (CAC) was measured by computed tomography, and common and internal intima media thickness (cIMT) were measured by carotid ultrasound. PAD was measured concurrent with fetuin-A, and CAC and cIMT was measured 4.6 years (mean) later.
Mean age was 70 ± 11 years and 64% were female. Fetuin-A levels were inversely associated with CAC severity. When evaluated as CAC categories (0, 1–100, 101–300, > 300) using ordinal logistic regression, each standard deviation higher fetuin-A was associated with a 31% lower odds of CAC severity (proportional odds ratio [POR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46, 0.92; p=0.008) in models adjusted for demographics, lifestyle factors, traditional CVD risk factors and kidney function. In contrast, no association of fetuin-A was observed with PAD or high common or internal cIMT in adjusted models.
Lower fetuin-A levels are independently associated with greater CAC severity, but not PAD or cIMT. If confirmed, fetuin-A may mark calcium deposition within the vasculature, but not atherosclerosis per se.
Fetuin-A; Cardiovascular Disease; Coronary Artery Calcification
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is more severe and occurs at an earlier age in type 1 diabetes. Risk factors for this subclinical marker of atherosclerotic burden, like coronary artery disease (CAD) itself, are not fully identified. One postulated mechanism for the increased CAC observed in type 1 diabetes is the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As certain collagen AGEs fluoresce, skin intrinsic fluorescence (SIF) can act as a novel marker of levels of collagen AGEs. We thus sought to determine the relationship between skin intrinsic fluorescence and CAC in type 1 diabetes.
One hundred five participants in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications study of childhood-onset (age <17 years) type 1 diabetes who had previously undergone electron beam tomography scanning for CAC (80 of whom had follow-up data) had SIF measurements taken using the SCOUT DM® (VeraLight, Inc., Albuquerque, NM). Mean age and diabetes' duration were 49 and 40 years, respectively, at the time of SIF measurement.
Seventy-one percent of the study participants had some measurable CAC that was univariately (but not after age adjustment) cross-sectionally associated with SIF (odds ratio = 2.51, 1.37–4.59). However, for CAC severity using natural logarithmically transformed scores, SIF was both univariately (P < 0.0001) and multivariably (P = 0.03) associated with CAC. This relationship was independent of age, a history of CAD, renal function, or renal damage. Receiver operator characteristic analyses revealed that the discriminative ability of SIF to detect CAC went from an area under the curve of 71% for the presence of any CAC to 85% for those with a CAC score >400.
The relationship between SIF and CAC appears stronger with more severe calcification. Given the strong relationship of CAC with CAD this finding has important implications and suggests that SIF maybe a useful marker of CAC/CAD risk and potentially a therapeutic target.
Growing evidence suggests that neighborhood characteristics may influence the risk of coronary heart disease. No studies have yet explored associations of neighborhood attributes with subclinical atherosclerosis in younger adult populations. Using data on 2,974 adults (1,699 women, 1,275 men) aged 32–50 years in 2000 from the Coronary Artery Disease Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study and 2000 US Census block-group-level data, the authors estimated multivariable-adjusted associations of neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and perceived neighborhood cohesion with odds of coronary artery calcification (CAC) 5 years later. Among women, the quartiles of highest neighborhood deprivation and lowest cohesion were associated with higher odds of CAC after adjustment for individual-level demographic and socioeconomic factors (for deprivation, odds ratio = 2.49, 95% confidence interval: 1.22, 5.08 (P for trend = 0.03); for cohesion, odds ratio = 1.87, 95% confidence interval: 1.10, 3.16 (P for trend = 0.02)). Associations changed only slightly after adjustment for behavioral, psychosocial, and biologic factors. Among men, neither neighborhood deprivation nor cohesion was related to CAC. However, among men in deprived neighborhoods, low cohesion predicted higher CAC odds (for interaction between neighborhood deprivation and cohesion, P = 0.03). This study provides evidence on associations of neighborhood deprivation and cohesion with CAC in younger, asymptomatic adults. Neighborhood attributes may contribute to subclinical atherosclerosis.
atherosclerosis; coronary disease; residence characteristics; risk factors; social environment
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is associated with a high risk for and mortality from premature coronary artery disease (CAD), including coronary artery calcification (CAC), a subclinical marker, and lower extremity arterial disease (LEAD). Pulse Wave Analysis (PWA) arterial stiffness indices have been associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and outcomes in various populations, but little is known regarding these relationships in T1D.
PWA was performed using the Sphygmocor Px device on 144 participants in the Pittsburgh EDC Study of childhood onset T1D. The cross-sectional associations between arterial stiffness indices, augmentation index (AIx) and augmentation pressure (AP), and subendocardial viability ratio (SEVR), an estimate of myocardial perfusion, with prevalent CAD, electron beam computed tomography-measured CAC and low (<0.90) ankle-brachial index (ABI) were examined.
Higher AP (but not AIx) and lower SEVR were univariately associated with prevalent CAD, high CAC score, and low ABI. AP and SEVR’s association with CAD and CAC did not, however, remain significant after adjustment for age. In individuals not using nitrates, which profoundly affect PWA measures, AP was significantly higher in those with CAD events and explained more of the variance than either age or brachial blood pressure measures. SEVR was associated with low ABI in multivariable models.
Greater augmentation pressure is independently associated with prevalent CAD and estimated myocardial perfusion with low ABI in type 1 diabetes. These measures may thus help to better characterize CVD risk in type 1 diabetes and need to be examined prospectively.
pulse wave analysis; type 1 diabetes; coronary artery disease; coronary artery calcification; lower extremity arterial disease; arterial stiffness
To examine the effects of unfairness on incident coronary events and health functioning.
Prospective cohort study. Unfairness, sociodemographics, established coronary risk factors (high serum cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption) and other psychosocial work characteristics (job strain, effort–reward imbalance and organisational justice) were measured at baseline. Associations between unfairness and incident coronary events and health functioning were determined over an average follow‐up of 10.9 years.
5726 men and 2572 women from 20 civil service departments in London (the Whitehall II Study).
Main outcome measures
Incident fatal coronary heart disease, non‐fatal myocardial infarction and angina (528 events) and health functioning.
Low employment grade is strongly associated with unfairness. Participants reporting higher levels of unfairness are more likely to experience an incident coronary event (HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.17), after adjustment for age, gender, employment grade, established coronary risk factors and other work‐related psychosocial characteristics. Unfairness is also associated with poor physical (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.77) and mental (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.99) functioning at follow‐up, controlling for all other factors and health functioning at baseline.
Unfairness is an independent predictor of increased coronary events and impaired health functioning. Further research is needed to disentangle the effects of unfairness from other psychosocial constructs and to investigate the societal, relational and biological mechanisms that may underlie its associations with health and heart disease.
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) predicts cardiovascular events in the general population. We conducted a prospective study to determine if inflammatory markers were predictive of CAC and if CAC predicted cardiovascular events and mortality in incident renal transplant recipients.
A prospective cohort of 112 asymptomatic incident renal transplant recipients who had no prior history of coronary artery revascularization or myocardial infarction had coronary calcifications measured early post-transplant and at least 18 months later by Agatston score and volume method.
The mean CAC score was 367.7 (682.3). Inflammatory markers such as WBC and CRP were predictive of CAC severity. Recipients with cardiovascular events (n=11) or death (n=12) during the follow-up period had higher mean [675.1 (669.3) vs. 296.8(669.0), p=0.02] and median [434.8 vs. 28.9, p=0.01] CAC score compared to those without them. Recipients with CAC score less than 100 had a better cumulative survival rate compared to the recipients with CAC score greater than 100 [95.1 vs. 82.3%, p=0.03]. We found a significant unadjusted and adjusted association between CAC score and cardiovascular events and mortality. A quarter (25.9%) of recipients had CAC progression. Coronary calcification progression also predicted cardiovascular events and mortality after adjustment for diabetes, age, dialysis vintage and presence of CAC at time of transplant.
CAC is prevalent in renal recipients and is predictive of cardiovascular events and mortality. Changes in coronary calcification are common and predict clinical outcomes. Inflammatory markers are predictive of CAC severity at time of transplant, but are not predictive of future cardiovascular event or mortality.
coronary calcification; EBCT; renal transplant; inflammation; C-reactive protein
This study assessed the cross-sectional association between coronary artery calcification (CAC) and myocardial perfusion in an asymptomatic population.
Clinical studies showed that the prevalence of stress-induced ischemia increased with CAC burden among patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Whether an association between CAC and myocardial perfusion exists in subjects without a history of CHD remains largely unknown.
A total of 222 men and women, ages 45 to 84 years old and free of CHD diagnosis, in the Minnesota field center of the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) were studied. Myocardial blood flow (MBF) was measured using magnetic resonance imaging during rest and adenosine-induced hyperemia. Perfusion reserve was calculated as the ratio of hyperemic to resting MBF. Agatston CAC score was determined from chest multidetector computed tomography.
Mean values of hyperemic MBF and perfusion reserve, but not resting MBF, were monotonically lower across increasing CAC levels. After adjusting for age and gender, odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of reduced perfusion reserve (<2.5) for subjects with CAC scores of 0, 0.1 to 99.9, 100 to 399, and ≥400 were 1.00 (reference), 2.16 (0.96 to 4.84), 2.81 (1.04 to 7.58), and 4.99 (1.73 to 14.4), respectively. Further adjustment for other coronary risk factors did not substantially modify the association. However, the inverse association between perfusion reserve and CAC attenuated with advancing age (p for interaction < 0.05).
Coronary vasodilatory response was associated inversely with the presence and severity of CAC in asymptomatic adults. Myocardial perfusion could be impaired by or manifest the progression to subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in the absence of clinical CHD.