Heart failure is a major contributor to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in rheumatoid arthritis. However, little is known about myocardial structure and function in this population.
Using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, measures of myocardial structure and function were assessed in men and women with rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in ESCAPE RA, a cohort study of subclinical cardiovascular disease in rheumatoid arthritis, and compared with controls without rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in the Baltimore cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
Myocardial measures were compared between 75 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 225 matched controls. After adjustment, mean left-ventricular mass was 26 grams lower for the RA group compared to controls (p<0.001), an 18% difference. After similar adjustment, mean left-ventricular ejection fraction, cardiac output, and stroke volume were modestly lower in the rheumatoid arthritis group vs. controls. Mean left-ventricular end-systolic and end-diastolic volumes did not differ by rheumatoid arthritis status. Within the rheumatoid arthritis group, higher levels of anti-CCP antibodies and current use of biologics, but not other disease activity or severity measures, were associated with significantly lower adjusted mean left-ventricular mass, end-diastolic volume, and stroke volume, but not ejection fraction. The combined associations of anti-CCP antibody level and biologic use on myocardial measures were additive, without evidence of interaction.
These findings suggest that the progression to heart failure in RA may occur through reduced myocardial mass rather than hypertrophy. Both modifiable and non-modifiable factors may contribute to lower levels of left-ventricular mass and volume.
myocardial dysfunction; heart failure; inflammation; cardiac imaging
We studied the incidence and progression of coronary artery calcification in people with early chronic kidney disease. We used a cohort of 562 adult patients with chronic kidney disease who had an estimated glomerular filtration rate of <60 ml/min/1.73 m2, in a community-based study of people without clinical cardiovascular disease, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The majority had stage 3 disease. Coronary artery calcification was measured at baseline and again approximately 1.6 or 3.2 years later. The prevalence of coronary artery calcification at baseline was 66%, and its adjusted prevalence was 24% lower in African Americans as compared to Caucasians. The incidence of coronary artery calcification was 6.1% per year in women and 14.8% in men. Coronary artery calcification progressed in approximately 17% of subjects per year across all subgroups, and diabetes was associated with a 65% greater adjusted risk of progression. Male gender and diabetes were the only factors associated with adjusted coronary artery calcification incidence and progression, respectively. Our study shows that coronary artery calcification is common in people with stage 3 disease, progresses rapidly, and may contribute to cardiovascular risk.
chronic kidney disease; coronary calcification; vascular calcification
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.
The prevalence of ischemic heart disease and atherosclerosis is increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In the general population, but not in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, the Framingham risk score identifies patients at increased cardiovascular risk and helps determine the need for preventive interventions. We examined the hypothesis that the Framingham score is increased and associated with coronary-artery atherosclerosis in patients with RA. The Framingham score and the 10-year cardiovascular risk were compared among 155 patients with RA (89 with early disease, 66 with long-standing disease) and 85 control subjects. The presence of coronary-artery calcification was determined by electron-beam computed tomography. The Framingham score was compared in patients with RA and control subjects, and the association between the risk score and coronary-artery calcification was examined in patients. Patients with long-standing RA had a higher Framingham score (14 [11 to 18]) (median [interquartile range]) compared to patients with early RA (11 [8 to 14]) or control subjects (12 [7 to 14], P < 0.001). This remained significant after adjustment for age and gender (P = 0.015). Seventy-six patients with RA had coronary calcification; their Framingham risk score was higher (14 [12 to 17]) than that of 79 patients without calcification (10 [5 to 14]) (P < 0.001). Furthermore, a higher Framingham score was associated with a higher calcium score (odds ratio [OR] = 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12 to 1.29, P < 0.001), and the association remained significant after adjustment for age and gender (OR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.29, P = 0.03). In conclusion, a higher Framingham risk score is independently associated with the presence of coronary calcification in patients with RA.
Subclinical coronary atherosclerosis is increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is associated with insulin resistance. Adipocytokines are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and coronary heart disease in the general population. We examined the hypothesis that adipocytokines affect insulin resistance and coronary atherosclerosis among patients with RA.
Coronary calcium, insulin resistance (HOMA) and serum adipocytokine concentrations (leptin, adiponectin, resistin and visfatin) were measured in 169 patients with RA. The independent effect of each adipocytokine on HOMA and coronary artery calcification determined by electron beam CT was assessed adjusting for age, race, sex, BMI, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and inflammatory mediators. We also examined whether the effect of HOMA on coronary calcium is moderated by adipocytokines throughan interaction analysis.
Leptin was associated with higher HOMA, even after adjusting for age, race, sex, BMI, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and inflammatory mediators (p<0.001), but visfatin (p=0.06), adiponectin (p=0.55) and resistin (p=0.98) were not. None of the adipocytokines were independently associated with coronary calcium (all p>0.05). Serum leptin concentrations interacted with HOMA (multivariate p interaction=0.02). Increasing leptin concentrations attenuated the increased risk of coronary calcification related to HOMA. The other adipocytokines and HOMA did not interact significantly (p>0.05).
Leptin is associated with insulin resistance in patients with RA but paradoxically attenuated the effects of insulin resistance on coronary calcification.
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Adipocytokines; Atherosclerosis; Insulin Resistance; Leptin; Adiponectin; Resistin; Visfatin
High serum phosphorus levels have been associated with mortality and cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease and in the general population. In addition, high phosphorus levels have been shown to induce vascular calcification and endothelial dysfunction in vitro. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation of phosphorus and coronary calcification and atherosclerosis in the setting of normal renal function. This was a cross-sectional study involving 290 patients with suspected coronary artery disease and undergoing elective coronary angiography, with a creatinine clearance >60 ml/min/1.73 m2. Coronary artery obstruction was assessed by the Friesinger score and coronary artery calcification by multislice computed tomography. Serum phosphorus was higher in patients with an Agatston score >10 than in those with an Agatston score ≤10 (3.63±0.55 versus 3.49±0.52 mg/dl; p = 0.02). In the patients with Friesinger scores >4, serum phosphorus was higher (3.6±0.5 versus 3.5±0.6 mg/dl, p = 0.04) and median intact fibroblast growth factor 23 was lower (40.3 pg/ml versus 45.7 pg/ml, p = 0.01). Each 0.1-mg/dl higher serum phosphate was associated with a 7.4% higher odds of having a Friesinger score >4 (p = 0.03) and a 6.1% greater risk of having an Agatston score >10 (p = 0.01). Fibroblast growth factor 23 was a negative predictor of Friesinger score (p = 0.002). In conclusion, phosphorus is positively associated with coronary artery calcification and obstruction in patients with suspected coronary artery disease and preserved renal function.
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
We aimed at determining whether anti-apolipoprotein (apo) A-1 IgG levels are independent predictors of coronary artery calcification (CAC) and coronary endothelial dysfunction in obese and nonobese subjects without cardiovascular disease. 48 nonobese and 43 obese subjects were included. CAC score was measured by thorax scanner and defined by an Agatston score > 0. Coronary endothelial dysfunction was determined by measuring myocardial blood flow responses to cold pressor test (CPT) on PET/CT. Serum anti-apoA-1 IgG levels were measured by ELISA. Prevalence of coronary calcification was similar between the two study groups, but the prevalence of coronary endothelial dysfunction was higher in obese subjects. Anti-apoA-1 IgG levels and positivity rate were higher in obese than in nonobese individuals. CAC score was higher in anti-apoA-1 IgG positive subjects. ROC analyses indicated that anti-apoA-1 IgG levels were significant predictors of CAC > 0, but not of coronary endothelial dysfunction with a negative predictive value of 94%. Anti-apoA-1 IgG positivity was associated with a 17-fold independent increased risk of CAC > 0. In conclusion, those preliminary results indicate that anti-apoA-1 IgG autoantibodies are raised in obese subjects and independently predict the presence of coronary calcification in this population but not the presence of coronary endothelial dysfunction.
We examined the cross-sectional relationships of subclinical atherosclerosis – expressed by carotid intimal–medial thickness and coronary calcification – with antibodies to Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, hepatitis A virus, and pathogen burden (number of positive pathogens). A random sample of 1056 individuals chosen from 5030 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort participants were included. After multiple adjustment, no associations were found between atherosclerosis measures and either individual pathogens or pathogen burden. Interactions with inflammatory and endothelial function markers, demographic factors, BMI, high-density lipoprotein, diabetes, and smoking were also explored. The only interaction that was large, qualitative, statistically significant (P < 0.05) and in the expected direction was that between hepatitis A virus and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 with regard to Agatston calcium score: the difference between hepatitis A virus-positive and hepatitis A virus-negative participants was −86 units in participants with soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 below the median, and +162 units in those with soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 equal or above the median. However, given the number of interactions that were explored, these results must be interpreted cautiously.
Findings from the present analyses do not provide support for an infectious etiology for subclinical atherosclerosis. However, the study’s limitations, which include its cross-sectional design and insufficient statistical power, suggest that inferences from its findings should be made cautiously.
atherosclerosis; infections; pathogens
Explanations for the low prevalence of atherosclerosis in Japan versus United States are often confounded with genetic variation. To help remove such confounding, coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, was compared between Japanese men in Japan and Japanese men in Hawaii. Findings are based on risk factor and CAC measurements that were made from 2001 to 2005 in 311 men in Japan and 300 men in Hawaii. Men were aged 40 to 50 years and without cardiovascular disease. After age-adjustment, there was a 3-fold excess in the odds of prevalent CAC scores ≥10 in Hawaii versus Japan (relative odds [RO] = 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.1,4.9). While men in Hawaii had a generally poorer risk factor profile, men in Japan were 4-times more likely to smoke cigarettes (49.5 vs. 12.7%, p<0.001). In spite of marked risk factor differences between the samples, none of the risk factors provided an explanation for the low amounts of CAC in Japan. After risk factor adjustment, the RO of CAC scores ≥10 in Hawaii versus Japan was 4.0 (95% CI = 2.2,7.4). Further studies are needed to identify factors that offer protection against atherosclerosis in Japanese men in Japan.
Atherosclerosis; cohort studies; coronary disease; Japan; men; risk factors
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease associated with premature atherosclerosis. We examined the hypothesis that mediators of inflammation associated with atherosclerosis in other populations IL-6, TNF-α, SAA, VEGF, neutrophil count, IL-1α, E-selectin, ICAM-1, MPO, MMP-9, and VCAM-1 were increased and associated with the severity of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with RA.
Clinical variables, concentrations of inflammatory mediators and coronary artery calcification were measured in 169 patients with RA and 92 control subjects. Differences in concentrations of inflammatory mediators were compared using median quantile regression. The relationship of inflammatory mediators with the severity of coronary calcification in RA and control subjects was examined using proportional odds logistic regression allowing for interaction with disease status. Models were adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
Median serum concentrations of IL-6, SAA, ICAM-1, E-selectin, TNF-α, and MPO and peripheral blood neutrophil count were higher in patients with RA than controls (all p<0.05) independent of Framingham risk score and diabetes. IL-6 (main effect OR 1.72, 95%CI 1.12–2.66) and TNF-α concentrations (main effect OR 1.49, 95%CI 1.16–1.90) were significantly associated with higher amounts of coronary calcium independent of Framingham risk score and diabetes, and such main effects significantly differed from controls (p-value for interaction=0.001 and 0.03, respectively).
TNF-α and IL-6 are significantly associated with the severity of subclinical atherosclerosis independent of Framingham risk score in RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Atherosclerosis; Cytokine; Inflammation; TNF-α; IL-6; Coronary Calcium
Major depression and depressive symptoms are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the impact of depression on early atherogenesis is less well known, particularly in women and minorities. This study examined whether depressive symptoms are associated with progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC) among women at mid-life.
The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) is a longitudinal, multi-site study assessing health and psychological factors in mid-life women. An ancillary study (SWAN Heart) evaluated subclinical atherosclerosis in women who reported no history of CVD or diabetes. In 346 women, CAC was measured twice by electron beam computed tomography, an average of 2.3 years apart. Progression, defined as an increase by 10 Agatston units or more, was analyzed using relative risk regression. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale.
Progression of CAC was observed in 67 women (19.1%). Each 1–SD higher CES-D score at baseline related to a 25% increased risk of CAC progression [RR 1.25, CI 1.06–1.47, p=0.007], adjusting for age, time between scans, ethnicity, education, menopausal status, and known CVD risk factors. This risk was similar to the risk induced by BMI [RR 1.31, CI 1.11–1.54, p=0.001] and systolic blood pressure [RR 1.28, CI 1.06–1.55, p=0.01].
Depressive symptoms were independently associated with progression of CAC in this cohort of midlife women. Depressive symptoms may represent a risk factor that is potentially modifiable for early prevention of CVD in women.
atherosclerosis; coronary calcium; women; depression; epidemiology
To establish an efficient prophylaxis of coronary artery disease reliable risk stratification is crucial, especially in the high risk population of patients suffering from diabetes mellitus. This prospective study determined the predictive value of coronary calcifications for future cardiovascular events in asymptomatic patients with diabetes mellitus.
We included 716 patients suffering from diabetes mellitus (430 men, 286 women, age 55.2 ± 15.2 years) in this study. On study entry all patients were asymptomatic and had no history of coronary artery disease. In addition, all patients showed no signs of coronary artery disease in ECG, stress ECG or echocardiography. Coronary calcifications were determined with the Imatron C 150 XP electron beam computed tomograph. For quantification of coronary calcifications we calculated the Agatston score. After a mean observation period of 8.1 ± 1.1 years patients were contacted and the event rate of cardiac death (CD) and myocardial infarction (MI) was determined.
During the observation period 40 patients suffered from MI, 36 patients died from acute CD. The initial Agatston score in patients that suffered from MI or died from CD (475 ± 208) was significantly higher compared to those without cardiac events (236 ± 199, p < 0.01). An Agatston score above 400 was associated with a significantly higher annualised event rate for cardiovascular events (5.6% versus 0.7%, p < 0.01). No cardiac events were observed in patients with exclusion of coronary calcifications. Compared to the Framingham risk score and the UKPDS score the Agatston score showed a significantly higher diagnostic accuracy in the prediction of MI with an area under the ROC curve of 0.77 versus 0.68, and 0.71, respectively, p < 0.01.
By determination of coronary calcifications patients at risk for future MI and CD could be identified within an asymptomatic high risk group of patients suffering from diabetes mellitus. On the other hand future events could be excluded in patients without coronary calcifications.
Cigarette smoking is a risk factor of coronary heart disease (CHD). Vascular calcification such as coronary artery calcium (CAC) and aortic calcium (AC) is associated with CHD. We hypothesized that cigarette smoking is associated with coronary artery and aortic calcifications in Japanese and Koreans with high smoking prevalence.
Random samples from populations of 313 Japanese and 302 Korean men aged 40 to 49 were examined for calcification of the coronary artery and aorta using electron beam computed tomography. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) and aortic calcium (AC) were quantified using the Agatston score. We examined the associations of cigarette smoking with CAC and AC after adjusting for conventional risk factors and alcohol consumption. Current and past smokers were combined and categorized into two groups using median pack-years as a cutoff point in each of Japanese and Koreans. The never smoker group was used as a reference for the multiple logistic regression analyses.
The odds ratios of CAC (score ≥10) for smokers with higher pack-years were 2.9 in Japanese (P<0.05) and 1.3 in Koreans (non-significant) compared to never smokers. The odds ratios of AC (score ≥100) for smokers with higher pack-years were 10.4 in Japanese (P<0.05) and 3.6 in Koreans (P<0.05).
Cigarette smoking with higher pack-years is significantly associated with CAC and AC in Japanese men, while cigarette smoking with higher pack-years is significantly associated with AC but not significantly with CAC in Korean men.
atherosclerosis; cigarette smoking; coronary calcium; aortic calcium; Japanese; Koreans
Prior reports regarding the association between physical activity and subclinical cardiovascular disease have not been consistent. The authors assessed physical activity and walking pace via questionnaire among 6,482 US adults aged 45–84 years without prior clinical cardiovascular disease participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis from 2000 to 2002. Ankle-brachial index (ABI), coronary artery calcification, and internal and common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured. Metabolic equivalent-hours/week of physical activity were calculated. These data were analyzed by using multivariable linear or relative prevalence regression in gender-specific strata. After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, clinic site, education, income, and smoking (model 1), increasing total, moderate + vigorous, and intentional-exercise physical activity were not associated with IMT or coronary artery calcification in either gender. These factors were associated with increased ABI (P < 0.05) in women only. Walking pace was associated favorably with common carotid IMT, ABI, and coronary artery calcification in men and with common carotid IMT and ABI in women (all P < 0.05) after adjustment for model 1 variables. These associations were attenuated and, for common carotid IMT, no longer significant when lipids, hypertension, diabetes, and body mass index were added to the model. These data suggest that walking pace is associated with less subclinical atherosclerosis; these associations may be mediated by cardiovascular disease risk factors.
atherosclerosis; carotid arteries; coronary vessels; exercise; motor activity; peripheral vascular diseases
To determine whether nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (NCBP) therapy is associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular calcification.
Cardiovascular calcification correlates with atherosclerotic disease burden. Experimental data suggest that NCBP may limit cardiovascular calcification, which has implications for disease prevention.
The relationship of NCBP use to the prevalence of aortic valve, aortic valve ring, mitral annulus, thoracic aorta, and coronary artery calcification (AVC, AVRC, MAC, TAC, and CAC, respectively) detected by computed tomography was assessed in 3,636 women within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) using regression modeling.
Analyses were age-stratified because of a significant interaction between age and NCBP use (interaction p-values: AVC p<0.0001; AVRC p<0.0001; MAC p=0.002; TAC p<0.0001; CAC p=0.046). After adjusting for age, body mass index, demographics, diabetes, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and statin, hormone replacement, and renin-angiotensin inhibitor therapy, NCBP use was associated with a lower prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in women ≥65 years old (prevalence ratio [95% confidence interval]: AVC 0.68 [0.41, 1.13]; AVRC 0.65 [0.51, 0.84]; MAC 0.54 [0.33, 0.93]; TAC 0.69 [0.54, 0.88]; CAC 0.89 [0.78, 1.02]), whereas calcification was more prevalent in NCBP users among the 2,181 women <65 years old (AVC 4.00 [2.33, 6.89]; AVRC 1.92 [1.42, 2.61]; MAC 2.35 [1.12, 4.84]; TAC 2.17 [1.49, 3.15]; CAC 1.23 [0.97, 1.57]).
Among women in the diverse MESA cohort, NCBPs were associated with decreased prevalence of cardiovascular calcification in older subjects, but more prevalent cardiovascular calcification in younger ones. Further study is warranted to clarify these age-dependent NCBP effects.
bisphosphonate; calcification; coronary artery; valve; vascular
Increased concentrations of amino-terminal prohormone brain-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) are associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, but little is known about their relationship to chronic inflammation. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have chronic inflammation, increased arterial stiffness and accelerated coronary atherosclerosis. We tested the hypothesis that NT-proBNP concentrations are elevated in patients with RA, and are associated with coronary artery calcification and markers of inflammation.
In 159 subjects with RA (90 patients with early RA and 69 patients with longstanding RA) without heart failure and 88 control subjects, we measured serum concentrations of NT-proBNP, interleukin (IL)-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and coronary calcification.
NT-proBNP concentrations were elevated in patients with long-standing RA [median (IQR): 142.8 (54.8–270.5) pg/mL] and those with early RA [58.1 (19.4–157.6) pg/mL] compared to controls [18.1 (3.2–46.0) pg/mL, P<0.001]. In patients with RA, NT-proBNP concentrations were associated with age (ρ=0.35, P<0.001), IL-6 (ρ=0.33, P<0.001), TNF-α (ρ=0.23, P=0.003), CRP (ρ=0.21, P=0.01), coronary calcium score (ρ=0.30, P<0.001), systolic blood pressure (ρ=0.30, p<0.001), and disease activity (ρ=0.29, P<0.001). After adjustment for age, race and sex the associations between NT-proBNP concentrations and disease activity (P<0.001), TNF-α (P<0.001), IL-6 (P=0.04) and CRP concentrations (P=0.02) remained significant, but those with systolic blood pressure (P=0.10) and coronary calcium score (P=0.27) were attenuated.
NT-proBNP concentrations are increased in patients with RA without clinical heart failure and may indicate subclinical cardiovascular disease and a chronic inflammatory state.
rheumatoid arthritis; inflammation; atherosclerosis; B-type natriuretic peptide; NT-proBNP
To assess the effects of famine exposure during childhood on coronary calcium deposition and, secondarily, on cardiac valve and aortic calcifications.
286 postmenopausal women with individual measurements of famine exposure during childhood in the Netherlands during World War II.
Famine exposure during childhood.
Main outcome measures
Coronary artery calcifications measured by CT scan and scored using the Agatston method; calcifications of the aorta and cardiac valves (mitral and/or aortic) measured semiquantitatively. Logistic regression was used for coronary Agatston score of >100 or ≤100, valve or aortic calcifications as the dependent variable and an indicator for famine exposure as the independent variable. These models were also used for confounder adjustment and stratification based on age groups of 0–9 and 10–17 years.
In the overall analysis, no statistically significant association was found between severe famine exposure in childhood and a high coronary calcium score (OR 1.80, 95% CI 0.87 to 3.78). However, when looking at specific risk periods, severe famine exposure during adolescence was related to a higher risk for a high coronary calcium score than non-exposure to famine, both in crude (OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.00 to 12.07) and adjusted analyses (OR 4.62, 95% CI 1.16 to 18.43). No statistically significant association was found between childhood famine exposure and valve or aortic calcification (OR 1.66, 95% CI 0.69 to 4.10).
Famine exposure in childhood, especially during adolescence, seems to be associated with a higher risk of coronary artery calcification in late adulthood. However, the association between childhood famine exposure and cardiac valve/aortic calcification is less clear.
EPIDEMIOLOGY; NUTRITION & DIETETICS
Studies have shown that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are two to five times more likely to develop premature cardiovascular disease, thus shortening their life expectancy by five to 10 years. This risk has risen to approximately 12.6% in the urban population and 7.4% in the rural population of India. The Framingham risk score (FRS) identifies patients at increased cardiovascular risk and helps determine the need for preventive interventions. An investigation of the patients’ coronary arteries and coronary artery calcification (CAC) – a measure of atherosclerotic plaque – has been found to be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease.
To identify important biological markers for easy and non-invasive identification of cardiovascular disease in RA patients, and to investigate whether there is a relationship between the FRS and coronary artery atherosclerosis in RA patients.
The present study included 43 established RA patients and 50 healthy individuals (controls). Traditional and nontraditional risk factors were studied and compared with the control group. Insulin resistance was assessed using the homeostasis model of assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and the homeostasis model of assessment of beta cell function. The FRS and the 10-year cardiovascular risk were compared between RA patients and controls. The presence of CAC was determined using electron-beam computed tomography, and the association between the FRS and CAC was examined.
Significant differences in body mass index, waist circumference, rheumatoid factors (immunoglobulin [Ig]G, IgM and IgA) and inflammatory markers – C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate – were noted. There was significant correlation between HOMA-IR and body mass index, hypertension and C-reactive protein, but no correlation was seen with the homeostasis model of assessment of beta cell function. Significant differences were observed in the nontraditional biomarkers in RA patients, thus supporting their importance. Calcium deposition was observed in only seven RA patients.
RA patients with increased C-reactive protein levels and erythrocyte sedimentation rates showed an increase in serum insulin levels and significant differences in HOMA-IR, thus indicating insulin resistance, which could lead to underlying progression of artherosclerosis. Significant differences were observed in the nontraditional risk factors, which could be chosen as biomarkers for endothelial dysfunction. There was a significant correlation between calcium score and the FRS in seven patients, suggestive of an underlying risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis; ELISA; HOMA-B; HOMA-IR; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Rheumatoid arthritis
Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a role in the repair and regeneration of the endothelium and may represent a novel cardiovascular risk factor. South Asian subjects have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease which is not fully explained by known risk factors. This study examined associations of EPCs with atherosclerosis and possible ethnic differences in EPCs.
Materials and methods
A population sample of 58 European and South Asian adult men was enriched with the recruitment of an additional 59 European and South Asian men with known coronary disease. The coronary artery calcification score was measured by multi-slice computerized tomography (CT), carotid and femoral intima-media thickness (IMT), and femoral plaques were measured by ultrasound. The subjects were further subdivided into three categories of coronary artery disease on the basis of coronary artery calcification score and clinical history. Total EPCs and non-senescent EPCs (ns-EPCs) were quantified after 5 days cell culture and the number of late outgrowth colonies was measured over a 6-week test period. Circulating CD34+ haematopoietic precursor cells were measured by flow cytometry.
Individuals with femoral plaques had reduced total and ns-EPCs. The number of ns-EPCs were reduced in individuals with the most coronary atheroma and were inversely related to the coronary calcification score and femoral IMT. These relationships persisted after multivariate adjustment for other risk factors. The numbers of late outgrowth colonies or circulating CD34+ cells were unrelated to the presence of atherosclerosis. There were no differences in the number of EPCs between European and South Asian subjects.
The number of EPCs are reduced in subjects with atherosclerosis independent of other risk factors. Reduction in EPC numbers may be an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis but does not explain ethnic differences in cardiovascular risk.
Atherosclerosis; coronary calcification; endothelial progenitor cells; ethnicity; intima-media thickness
Mean maximum carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is associated with both coronary artery disease and cerebral thromboembolism. Thoracic aortic calcification (TAC) detected by computed tomography (CT) is also highly associated with vascular disease and cardiovascular risk. No previous study has examined the relationship between CIMT and TAC in a large patient cohort. We performed a cross-sectional study to determine whether, at baseline, there is a relationship between CIMT and CT-determined TAC score.
In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, the study cohort included a population based sample of four ethnic groups (Chinese, White, Hispanic and African-American) of 6814 women and men ages 45-84 years. After exclusion of 198 persons due to incomplete information, we compared results of 6616 participants with both CIMT and TAC. TAC was measured from the lower edge of the pulmonary artery bifurcation to the cardiac apex. CIMT at the common carotid artery site was represented as the mean maximal CIMT of the right and left near and far walls, respectively. Multivariable relative risk regression analysis was used to evaluate relationships between TAC and CIMT.
The prevalence of TAC was 28% (n=1846) and the mean maximum (±SD) CIMT was 0.87±0.19 mm. A higher prevalence of TAC was noted across increasing CIMT quartiles (1st: 12%, 2nd: 21%, 3rd: 30%, 4th: 49%, P<0.0001). One standard deviation increase in CIMT was associated with a 16% higher likelihood for presence of TAC after adjusting for demographics and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (95% CI: 1.12-1.26). In addition, individuals with CIMT in the highest quartile, as compared to those with CIMT in the first quartile, had a 76% higher likelihood for presence of TAC (prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.37-2.26). In race-ethnic stratified analyses, similar associations were seen in all groups. Among those with TAC>0, a higher CIMT was significantly associated with continuous TAC scores (log transformed) in the overall population as well as among all ethnic-racial groups.
Our study demonstrates that TAC is associated with increasing severity of carotid atherosclerotic burden as measured by CIMT. The combined utility of these two noninvasive measures of subclinical atherosclerosis for CVD risk assessment needs to be determined in future studies.
Atherosclerosis; carotid IMT; aortic calcification; ethnic; cardiac CT
Mammographically-detected breast arterial calcifications (BAC) are considered to be an incidental finding without clinical importance since they are not associated with increased risk of breast cancer. The goal of this article is to review existing evidence that the presence of BAC on mammography correlates with several (but not all) traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and with prevalent and incident CVD. Thus, BAC detected during routine mammography is a noteworthy finding that could be valuable in identifying asymptomatic women at increased future CVD risk that may be candidates for more aggressive management. In addition, there are notable differences in measures of subclinical atherosclerosis burden in women (ie, coronary artery calcification) by race/ethnic background, and the same appears to be true for BAC, although data are very limited. Another noteworthy limitation of prior research on BAC is the reliance on absence vs presence of BAC; no study to date has determined gradation of BAC. Further research is thus required to elucidate the role of BAC gradation in the prediction of CVD outcomes and to determine whether adding BAC gradation to prediction models based on traditional risk factors improves classification of CVD risk.
Breast arterial calcification; Cardiovascular disease risk; Cardiovascular risk factors; Risk stratification; Mammography
Cardiac computed tomography (CT) is a well-established tool for the detection of cardiovascular calcium. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is highly sensitive for the detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as predictive of future cardiovascular (CV) events. Descending thoracic aortic calcification (DTAC) is common in the elderly and its presence is also associated with increased risk of CV events. Previous studies demonstrate that DTAC is associated with obstructive CAD and coronary risk factors. However, no prior studies have examined the association of CAC and DTAC as detected by cardiac CT in a large population-based cohort.
In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, the study population included a population based sample of four ethnic groups (Chinese, White, Hispanic and African-American) of 6814 women and men ages 45−84 years old. Participants underwent non-enhanced cardiac CT and both CAC and DTAC were quantified. DTAC was measured from the lower edge of the pulmonary artery bifurcation to the cardiac apex. Multivariable relative risk regression was used to evaluate relationships between CAC, DTAC and measured cardiovascular risk factors.
Overall 3030 (44%) did not demonstrate any detectable CAC or DTAC. A total of 1930 (28%) had only CAC, 386 (6%) had isolated DTAC, and 1464 (22%) participants were found to have both CAC and DTAC. CAC had a higher prevalence than DTAC in men (58% vs. 45%). Participants with DTAC were older than those with CAC (mean age was 71 and 66 years old, respectively). Participants with DTAC had increased risk for the presence of CAC independent of cardiovascular risk factors (prevalence ratio [PR]; 1.17 95% CI 1.07−1.28). Severity of DTAC was a stronger predictor of the presence of CAC in women as compared to men (PR; 1.04 95% CI 1.02 −1.06, and PR; 0.99 95% CI 0.98− 1.01, respectively).
DTAC was found to be a strong predictor of CAC independent of CV risk factors. Ongoing follow-up of this cohort will evaluate whether DTAC is an independent marker of risk for CV events.
Low testosterone (T) is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and increased mortality in the general population; however, the impact of T on subclinical CVD in HIV disease is unknown. This study examined the relationships among free testosterone (FT), subclinical CVD, and HIV disease.
This was a cross-sectional analysis in 322 HIV-uninfected and 534 HIV-infected men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Main outcomes were coronary artery calcification presence, defined as a coronary artery calcium (CAC) score > 10 (CAC score was the geometric mean of the Agatston scores of two computed tomography replicates), and far wall common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT)/carotid lesion presence by B-mode ultrasound.
Compared with the HIV-uninfected men in our sample, HIV-infected men were younger, with lower body mass index (BMI) and more often Black. HIV-infected men had lower FT (age-adjusted FT 88.7 ng/dL vs. 101.7 ng/dL in HIV-uninfected men; P = 0.0004); however, FT was not associated with CAC, log carotid IMT, or the presence of carotid lesions. HIV status was not associated with CAC presence or log carotid IMT, but was associated with carotid lesion presence (adjusted odds ratio 1.69; 95% confidence interval 1.06, 2.71) in HIV-infected men compared with HIV-uninfected men.
Compared with HIV-uninfected men, HIV-infected men had lower FT, as well as more prevalent carotid lesions. In both groups, FT was not associated with CAC presence, log carotid IMT, or carotid lesion presence, suggesting that FT does not influence subclinical CVD in this population of men with and at risk for HIV infection.
cardiovascular disease; HIV; testosterone
Circulating adiponectin has been associated with both clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Variants of the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) are associated with clinical CVD, but little is known about associations with subclinical CVD. We studied the association of 11 ADIPOQ SNPs with common and internal carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), presence of coronary artery calcification (CAC), and CAC scores (in those with CAC) in 2847 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Participants were Caucasian (n=712), African-American (n=712), Chinese (n=718), and Hispanic (n=705). All models were adjusted for age, sex, and field site, and stratified by race/ethnic group. African-Americans with genotypes AG/GG of rs2241767 had 36% greater (95% CI (16%, 59%), p=0.0001) CAC prevalence; they also had a larger common cIMT (p=0.0043). Also in African-Americans, genotypes AG/AA of rs1063537 were associated with a 35% (95% CI (14%, 59%), p=0.0005) greater CAC prevalence. Hispanics with the AA genotype of rs11711353 had a 37% (95% CI (14%, 66%), p=0.0011), greater CAC prevalence compared to those with the GG genotype. Additional adjustment for ancestry in African-American and Hispanic participants did not change the results. No single SNP was associated with subclinical CVD phenotypes in Chinese or Caucasian participants. There appears to be an association between ADIPOQ SNPs and subclinical CVD in African-American and Hispanics. Replication as well as assessment of other ADIPOQ SNPs appears warranted.