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1.  Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity Is Associated With Measures of Subclinical Target Organ Damage 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2011;4(7):10.1016/j.jcmg.2011.04.011.
Our goal was to evaluate the associations of central arterial stiffness, measured by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), with subclinical target organ damage in the coronary, peripheral arterial, cerebral, and renal arterial beds.
Arterial stiffness is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. We hypothesized that aPWV is associated with subclinical measures of atherosclerosis—coronary artery calcification (CAC) and ankle-brachial index (ABI) and arteriolosclerosis—brain white matter hyperintensity (WMH) and urine albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR).
Participants (n = 812; mean age 58 years; 58% women, 71% hypertensive) belonged to hypertensive sibships and had no history of myocardial infarction or stroke. aPWV was measured by applanation tonometry, CAC by electron beam computed tomography, ABI using a standard protocol, WMH volume by brain magnetic resonance, and UACR by standard methods. WMH was log-transformed, whereas CAC and UACR were log-transformed after adding 1 to reduce skewness. The associations of aPWV with CAC, ABI, WMH, and UACR were assessed by multivariable linear regression using generalized estimating equations to account for the presence of sibships. Covariates included in the models were age, sex, body mass index, history of smoking, hypertension and diabetes, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, estimated glomerular filtration rate, use of aspirin and statins, and pulse pressure.
The mean ± SD aPWV was 9.8 ± 2.8 m/s. After adjustment for age, sex, conventional cardiovascular risk factors, and pulse pressure, higher aPWV (1 m/s increase) was significantly associated with higher log (CAC + 1) (β ± SE = 0.14 ± 0.04; p = 0.0003), lower ABI (β ± SE =−0.005 ± 0.002; p = 0.02), and greater log (WMH) (β ± SE = 0.03 ± 0.009; p = 0.002), but not with log (UACR + 1) (p = 0.66).
Higher aPWV was independently associated with greater burden of subclinical disease in coronary, lower extremity, and cerebral arterial beds, highlighting target organ damage as a potential mechanism underlying the association of arterial stiffness with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. (J Am Coll Cardiol Img 2011;4:754–61)
PMCID: PMC3862768  PMID: 21757166
arterial stiffness; arteriosclerosis; coronary artery calcification; hypertension; leukoariosis; peripheral arterial disease; pulse wave velocity; target organ damage
2.  Additive effects of postchallenge hyperglycemia and low-density lipoprotein particles on the risk of arterial stiffness in healthy adults 
To determine the effects of post-challenge hyperglycemia potentiate low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) particles on the risk of arterial stiffness in non-diabetic adults.
During 2009–2011, 592 adults without clinical diabetes (fasting glucose <7.0 mmol/L) or known coronary heart disease or stroke were recruited. All subjects underwent standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) after overnight fasting. The glucose area under curve (GluAUC) after OGTT was defined as the postchallenge glucose load. Levels of LDL-C and small dense LDL-C (sdLDL-C) were measured. Arterial stiffness in terms of brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) was also measured.
The baPWV in tertile distributions were significantly associated with all conventional cardiovascular risk factors, LDL-C, and sdLDL-C. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that LDL-C (or sdLDL-C) combined with one of the seven glycemic indices (glucose levels at 0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min; GluAUC; HbA1C) was associated with arterial stiffness after covariates being adjusted. Further interaction analyses showed only concurrent higher levels of both glycemic indices and atherogenic LDL-C or sdLDL-C have significant risk for arterial stiffness.
Additive effects of both postchallenge hyperglycemia and LDL subclass particles potentiate the risk of arterial stiffness. The adverse joint effects of hyperlipidemia and postchallenge hyperglycemia on subclinical cardiovascular function provide important information in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in subjects without clinical diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4280693  PMID: 25431283
Postchallenge hyperglycemia; sdLDL-C; LDL-C; Arterial stiffness; OGTT
3.  Effect of 1-year anti-TNF-α therapy on aortic stiffness, carotid atherosclerosis, and calprotectin in inflammatory arthropathies: a controlled study 
American Journal of Hypertension  2012;25(6):644-650.
Premature arterial stiffening and atherosclerosis are increased in patients with inflammatory arthropathies such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The proinflammatory protein calprotectin is associated with inflammatory arthropathies, vascular pathology, and acute coronary events. We examined the long-term effects of treatment with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonists on aortic stiffness and carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) in patients with inflammatory arthropathies, and the relationships to the levels of calprotectin.
Fifty-five patients with RA, AS, or PsA and a clinical indication for anti-TNF-α therapy were included and followed with regular examinations for 1 year. Thirty-six patients starting with anti-TNF-α therapy were compared with a nontreatment group of 19 patients. Examinations included assessments of aortic stiffness (aortic pulse wave velocity, aPWV), CIMT, and plasma calprotectin.
After 1 year, aPWV (mean (s.d.)) was improved in the treatment group, but not in the control group (−0.54 [0.79] m/s vs. 0.06 [0.61] m/s, respectively; P = 0.004), and CIMT progression (median (quartile cut-points, 25th and 75th percentiles)) was reduced in the treatment group compared to the control group (−0.002 [–0.038, 0.030] mm vs. 0.030 [0.011, 0.043] mm, respectively; P = 0.01). In multivariable analyses, anti-TNF-α therapy over time was associated with improved aPWV (P = 0.02) and reduced CIMT progression (P = 0.04), and calprotectin was longitudinally associated with aPWV (P = 0.02).
Long-term anti-TNF-α therapy improved aortic stiffness and CIMT progression in patients with inflammatory arthropathies. Calprotectin may be a soluble biomarker reflecting aortic stiffening in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3635528  PMID: 22378036
anti-TNF-α; arterial stiffness; blood pressure; carotid intima media thickness; hypertension; rheumatoid arthritis
4.  Forearm Vascular Reactivity and Arterial Stiffness in Asymptomatic Subjects from the Community 
Hypertension  2008;51(6):1512-1518.
Vascular reactivity may affect the stiffness characteristics of the arterial wall. We investigated the association between forearm microcirculatory and conduit artery function and measures of arterial stiffness in 527 asymptomatic non-Hispanic white adults without known cardiovascular disease. High-resolution ultrasonography of the brachial artery (ba) was performed to assess forearm microcirculatory function (ba blood flow velocity, local shear stress, and forearm vascular resistance at rest and during reactive hyperemia) and conduit artery function (ba flow-mediated dilatation baFMD and ba nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation baNMD). Arterial stiffness was assessed by cuff-derived brachial pulse pressure and aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) measured by applanation tonometry. In regression analyses that adjusted for heart rate, mean arterial pressure, height, cardiovascular risk factors, and hypertension medication and statin use, higher baseline ba systolic velocity and systolic shear stress were associated with greater pulse pressure (P=0.0002 and P=0.006, respectively) and higher aPWV (each P<0.0001). During hyperemia, lower ba mean velocity and lower mean shear stress were associated with higher pulse pressure (P=0.045 and P=0.036, respectively) while both systolic and mean velocity (P<0.0001 and P=0.002, respectively) and systolic and mean shear stress (P<0.0001 and P=0.003, respectively) were inversely associated with aPWV. baFMD was not associated with pulse pressure but was inversely associated with aPWV (P=0.011). baNMD was inversely associated with pulse pressure (P=0.0002) and aPWV (P=0.008). Our findings demonstrate that impaired forearm microvascular function (in the form of elevated resting blood flow velocity and impaired flow reserve) and impaired brachial artery reactivity are associated with increased arterial stiffness.
PMCID: PMC2869626  PMID: 18426995
microvascular function; flow-mediated dilatation; nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation; arterial stiffness; pulse pressure; pulse wave velocity
5.  Determinants of arterial stiffness in COPD 
Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is high in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and arterial stiffness is a potentially modifiable risk factor with added predictive value beyond that obtained from traditional risk factors. Arterial stiffness has been the target of pharmacologic and exercise interventions in patients with COPD, but the effects appear limited to those patients with more significant elevations in arterial stiffness. We aimed to identify predictors of increased arterial stiffness in a cohort with moderate to severe COPD.
Aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) was measured in subjects with moderate to severe COPD enrolled in a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Subjects were categorized into quartiles based on aPWV values and factors affecting high arterial stiffness were assessed. Multivariate models were created to identify independent predictors of high aPWV, and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
153 patients were included. Mean age was 63.2 (SD 8.2) years and mean FEV1 was 55.4 (SD 15.2) % predicted. Compared to the quartile with the lowest aPWV, subjects in the highest quartile were older, had higher systolic blood pressure (SBP), were more likely to be current smokers, and had greater burden of thoracic aortic calcification. On multivariate analyses, age (adjusted OR 1.14, 95%CI 1.05 to 1.25, p = 0.003) and SBP (adjusted OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.09, p = 0.001) were independent predictors of elevated aPWV. Body mass index, therapy with cholesterol lowering medications and coronary calcification were independent predictors of CVD.
Elevated arterial stiffness in patients with COPD can be predicted using age, blood pressure and thoracic aortic calcification. This will help identify subjects for enrollment in clinical trials using aPWV for assessing the impact of COPD therapies on CV outcomes.
Trial registration NCT00857766
PMCID: PMC3890490  PMID: 24387157
COPD; Arterial stiffness; Arterial calcification; Cardiovascular
6.  Follow-Ups of Metabolic, Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Markers, and Brachial–Ankle Pulse Wave Velocity in Middle-Aged Subjects without Metabolic Syndrome 
This study investigates the association among metabolic risk factors, inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, and brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity (ba-PWV). We conducted a 3-year longitudinal, observational study of 288 middle-aged adults not meeting the criteria for metabolic syndrome (MetS) at the initial screening. We measured metabolic risk factors, inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, and ba-PWV. Within the 3-year study period, 15.6% (45 out of 288) of participants developed MetS. At the 3-year follow-up, patients were categorized as those with MetS (n = 45) and those without MetS (n = 243). Patients with MetS had significantly unfavorable initial measurements of baseline body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, glucose, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index, and ba-PWV. After 3 years, participants without MetS showed significant increases in WC, diastolic BP (DBP), total- and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, malondialdehyde (MDA), oxidized-LDL (ox-LDL), and ba-PWV and a significant decrease in HDL-cholesterol and free fatty acids (FFA). Subjects who developed MetS showed significant increases in BMI, WC, BP, TG, glucose, interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), MDA, ox-LDL, and ba-PWV and a significant decrease in HDL-cholesterol. Changes in BMI, WC, BP, TG, HDL-cholesterol, glucose, HOMA-IR index, FFA, C-reactive protein (P = .022), IL-6 (P = .004), leukocyte count (P < .001), MDA (P = .002), ox-LDL (P = .015), and ba-PWV (P = .001) differed significantly between the two groups after adjustment for baseline values. Changes in ba-PWV were positively correlated with the changes in systolic and DBP, total-cholesterol, glucose, leukocyte count, and MDA. The age-related increase in arterial stiffness is greater in the presence of MetS with higher levels of inflammatory and oxidative stress markers.
PMCID: PMC3740820  PMID: 23148723
MetS; inflammatory; oxidative stress markers; brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity
7.  Overall and abdominal obesity indicators had different association with central arterial stiffness and hemodynamics independent of age, sex, blood pressure, glucose, and lipids in Chinese community-dwelling adults 
Limited large sample studies have specially compared overall and abdominal obesity in relation to central arterial stiffness and hemodynamics in community-dwelling adults, especially in the People’s Republic of China. This study aimed to compare the relationship between an overall obesity indicator (body mass index [BMI]), an abdominal obesity index (waist circumference [WC]), and central arterial stiffness and hemodynamics, independent of age, sex, blood pressure, glucose, and lipids, in Chinese community-dwelling adults.
For 2,624 adults in this study, anthropometric indices, such as BMI and WC, were measured. Central arterial stiffness was assessed by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV). Central hemodynamics was represented by central pulse pressure (cPP).
Both overall and abdominally obese adults were older, with significantly higher cfPWV, cPP, peripheral pulse pressure (pPP), fasting blood glucose (FBG), and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), and significantly lower high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C). After adjusting for age and sex, both the overall and abdominally obese individuals had independently higher pPP, FBG, and LDL-C levels, and lower HDL-C level. The overall obese individuals had independently higher cPP, but not cfPWV, after adjusting for age and sex, while the abdominally obese individuals had independently higher cfPWV, but not cPP. After adjusting for age, sex, pPP, FBG, LDL-C, and HDL-C, WC, but not BMI, was independently correlated with cfPWV, and BMI, but not WC, was independently associated with cPP. Age, sex, pPP, FBG, and HDL-C levels have independent association with cfPWV. Age, sex, pPP, but not FBG and HDL-C levels, have independent association with cPP.
The abdominal obesity index (WC), rather than the overall obesity indicator (BMI), was related to central arterial stiffness, independent of age, sex, blood pressure, glucose and lipids, while the overall obesity indicator (BMI), rather than the abdominal obesity indicator (WC), was independently correlated with central hemodynamics. Age, sex, and blood pressure were independently associated with central arterial stiffness and hemodynamics, but blood glucose and lipids were independently associated with central arterial stiffness, rather than hemodynamics.
PMCID: PMC3848376  PMID: 24348027
carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity; central pulse pressure; body mass index; waist circumference
American journal of hypertension  2011;24(7):809-815.
Accelerated central arterial stiffening as represented by progression of aortic pulse-wave velocity (PWV) may be influenced by cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Little is known about the relationships between CVD risk factors and PWV progression among women transitioning through the menopause, or whether these relationships vary by ethnicity. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a subgroup analysis of 303 African American and Caucasian participants in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Heart Study received PWV scans at baseline examination and at a follow-up examination an average of 2.3 years later. CVD risk factors were also assessed at baseline.
Methods and Results
Systolic blood pressure (SBP) and waist circumference were the strongest predictors of PWV progression, after adjustment for age, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), glucose, and triglyceride levels. The magnitude of the influence of SBP, DBP, LDL-C, and glucose on PWV progression varied by ethnicity (difference in slopes: p=0.02 for SBP, p=0.0009 for DBP, p=0.005 for LDL-C, and p=0.02 for glucose). The positive relationship between SBP and PWV progression was significant among women of both ethnicities. LDL-C, DBP, and, to a lesser extent, glucose levels were positively associated with PWV progression only among African Americans.
Blood pressure, LDL-C, glucose, and excess body size may be important targets for improving vascular health and preventing clinical outcomes related to arterial stiffening, particularly among African American women.
PMCID: PMC3605977  PMID: 21490691
arteriosclerosis; risk factors; aging; ethnicity; pulse wave velocity; atherosclerosis
9.  Markers of Mineral Metabolism Are Not Associated With Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity in Community-Living Elderly Persons: The Health Aging and Body Composition Study 
American journal of hypertension  2011;24(7):755-761.
Disorders in mineral metabolism are associated with risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in patients with kidney disease as well as in the general population. This risk is thought to be mediated, in part, through the mechanism of stiffening of the arteries.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationships between serum calcium, phosphorus, intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and arterial pulse wave velocity (aPWV) among 2,229 community-dwelling elderly persons participating in the Health Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study.
The mean age of the participants was 72 years; 52% were woman, 39% were black, and 17% had chronic kidney disease (CKD) (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min/1.73 m2). In parallel unadjusted analyses, the following associations were observed: 2.86% greater aPWV per 12 ng/ml (s.d.) lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (95% confidence interval −4.38%, −1.31%), 3.04% greater aPWV per 28 pg/ml (s.d.) higher iPTH (95% confidence interval 1.42–4.68%), and 2.37% lower aPWV per 0.5 mg/dl (s.d.) higher phosphorus (95% confidence interval −3.90% to − 0.81%). Except for phosphorus, these associations were attenuated and rendered no longer statistically significant after adjustment for demographic risk factors, clinical site, season, medications and other CVD risk factors. The results were similar in men and women and were not dependent on the presence of CKD.
Among well-functioning community-dwelling elderly persons, only serum phosphorus was associated with aPWV; and this association was in the opposite direction of the one hypothesized. Factors other than vascular stiffening may mediate the relationship between disordered mineral metabolism and CVD events in community-living elders.
PMCID: PMC3117915  PMID: 21436791
arterial stiffness; blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; hypertension; kidney disease; mineral metabolism; PWV
10.  Determinants and clinical significance of plasma oxidized LDLs in older individuals. A 9 years follow-up study 
Atherosclerosis  2012;226(1):201-207.
Oxidized LDLs (ox.LDLs) uptake by macrophages inside the arterial wall is a crucial step in atherosclerotic disease, and some studies suggest that high ox.LDLs plasma levels might be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, whether high ox.LDLs continue to be a CVD risk factors in older persons is unknown. We investigated the clinical correlates of plasma ox.LDLs, and their role in predicting long-term CVD/cardiac mortality in 1025 older community-dwelling individuals (mean age:75.5±7.4yrs; females:55%) from the InCHIANTI study. Kaplan-Meier curves were fitted to explore the relationship between tertiles of ox.LDLs (ox.LDL/LDL-C ratio) and time to CVD/cardiac death. Hazard Ratios (HR) were estimated by Cox regression analysis.
At multivariate analysis, ox.LDLs were independently associated with LDL-C, triglycerides, and HDL-C (adjusted r2:0.42; P=0.001). The ox.LDL/LDL-C ratio (the extent of LDLs oxidation) was independently correlated with HDL-C, triglycerides, and beta-carotene (adjusted r2:0.15, P=0.001). Among 1025 individuals, 392 died after 9 years, 166 from CVD. The HR for CVD/cardiac mortality was not significantly different across tertiles of ox.LDLs or ox.LDL/LDL-C ratio, both in the whole sample and in individuals with prevalent CVD.
We conclude that in an elderly population LDL-C, triglycerides, and HDL-C are the most important determinants of ox.LDLs levels, indirectly suggesting an association between small dense LDLs and LDLs oxidation. No association emerged between higher ox.LDLs levels and 9-years CVD/cardiac mortality, suggesting that in advanced age the prognostic information added by ox.LDLs on CVD/cardiac mortality might be negligible.
PMCID: PMC3529836  PMID: 23141584
Oxidized LDL; Mortality; Cardiovascular Disease; Aging
11.  Particle Numbers of Lipoprotein Subclasses and Arterial Stiffness among Middle-aged men from the ERA JUMP study 
Journal of human hypertension  2013;28(2):111-117.
We examined the association between serum lipoprotein subclasses and the three measures of arterial stiffness i.e. (i) carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) which is a gold standard measure of central arterial stiffness, (ii) brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV) which is emerging as a combined measure of central and peripheral arterial stiffness, and (iii) femoral-ankle PWV (faPWV) which is a measure of peripheral arterial stiffness. Among a population-based sample of 701 apparently healthy Caucasian, Japanese American and Korean men aged 40–49 years, concentrations of lipoprotein particles were assessed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and PWV was assessed with an automated waveform analyzer (VP2000, Omron, Japan). Multiple linear regressions were performed to analyze the association between each NMR lipoprotein subclasses and PWV measures, after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors and other confounders. A cut-off of p<0.01 was used for determining significance. All PWV measures had significant correlations with total and small low-density lipoprotein particle number (LDL-P) (all p<0.0001) but not LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) (all p>0.1), independent of race and age. In multivariate regression analysis, no NMR lipoprotein subclass was significantly associated with cfPWV (all p>0.01). However, most NMR lipoprotein subclasses had significant associations with both baPWV and faPWV (p<0.01). In this study of healthy middle-aged men, as compared to cfPWV, both baPWV and faPWV had stronger associations with particle numbers of lipoprotein subclasses. Our results may suggest that both baPWV and faPWV are related to arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis, whereas cfPWV may represent arterial stiffness alone.
PMCID: PMC3800263  PMID: 23823580
lipoproteins; lipoprotein fractions; pulse wave velocity; atherosclerosis
12.  Arterial Stiffness Is Increased in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes Without Cardiovascular Disease 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(5):1083-1089.
To investigate the relationship between arterial stiffness and low-grade inflammation in subjects with type 1 diabetes without clinical cardiovascular disease.
Sixty-eight patients with type 1 diabetes and 68 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects were evaluated. Arterial stiffness was assessed by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV). Serum concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin (IL)-6, and soluble fractions of tumor necrosis factor-α receptors 1 and 2 (sTNFαR1 and sTNFαR2, respectively) were measured. All statistical analyses were stratified by sex.
Subjects with diabetes had a higher aPWV compared with healthy control subjects (men: 6.9 vs. 6.3 m/s, P < 0.001; women: 6.4 vs. 6.0 m/s, P = 0.023). These differences remained significant after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors. Men with diabetes had higher concentrations of hsCRP (1.2 vs. 0.6 mg/L; P = 0.036), IL-6 (0.6 vs. 0.3 pg/mL; P = 0.002), sTNFαR1 (2,739 vs. 1,410 pg/mL; P < 0.001), and sTNFαR2 (2,774 vs. 2,060 pg/mL; P < 0.001). Women with diabetes only had higher concentrations of IL-6 (0.6 vs. 0.4 pg/mL; P = 0.039). In men with diabetes, aPWV correlated positively with hsCRP (r = 0.389; P = 0.031) and IL-6 (r = 0.447; P = 0.008), whereas in women with diabetes no significant correlation was found. In men, multiple linear regression analysis showed that the following variables were associated independently with aPWV: age, BMI, type 1 diabetes, and low-grade inflammation (R2 = 0.543). In women, these variables were age, BMI, mean arterial pressure, and type 1 diabetes (R2 = 0.550).
Arterial stiffness assessed as aPWV is increased in patients with type 1 diabetes without clinical cardiovascular disease, independently of classical cardiovascular risk factors. In men with type 1 diabetes, low-grade inflammation is independently associated with arterial stiffness.
PMCID: PMC3329819  PMID: 22357186
13.  The Autophagy Enhancer Spermidine Reverses Arterial Aging 
Arterial aging, characterized by stiffening of large elastic arteries and the development of arterial endothelial dysfunction, increases cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. We tested the hypothesis that spermidine, a nutrient associated with the anti-aging process autophagy, would improve arterial aging. Aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), a measure of arterial stiffness, was ~20% greater in old (O, 28 months) compared with young C57BL6 mice (Y, 4 months, P < 0.05). Arterial endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD), a measure of endothelial function, was ~25% lower in O (P < 0.05 vs. Y) due to reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. These impairments were associated with greater arterial oxidative stress (nitrotyrosine), superoxide production, and protein cross-linking (advanced glycation end-products, AGEs) in O (all P < 0.05). Spermidine supplementation normalized aPWV, restored NO-mediated EDD and reduced nitrotyrosine, superoxide, AGEs and collagen in O. These effects of spermidine were associated with enhanced arterial expression of autophagy markers, and in vitro experiments demonstrated that vascular protection by spermidine was autophagy-dependent. Our results indicate that spermidine exerts a potent anti-aging influence on arteries by increasing NO bioavailability, reducing oxidative stress, modifying structural factors and enhancing autophagy. Spermidine may be a promising nutraceutical treatment for arterial aging and prevention of age-associated CVD.
PMCID: PMC3700669  PMID: 23612189
arterial stiffness; endothelial dysfunction; nitric oxide; oxidative stress
14.  Pulse wave velocity and cognitive decline in elders: The Health, Aging and Body Composition study 
Background and Purpose
Arterial stiffness is a measure of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) and increases with age. This study examines the association between arterial stiffness and cognitive decline in a cohort of older adults.
2,488 subjects with baseline measure of arterial stiffness (mean age, 74.2 years; 52.3% women) were prospectively followed over 9 years in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study. Arterial stiffness was measured as pulse wave velocity (PWV) and analyzed in tertiles. Cognitive function was assessed using the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam (3MS) at baseline and repeated at years 3, 5, 8 and 10. Lower 3MS scores indicate worse function. We fit linear mixed models to examine longitudinal changes in cognitive function over the 9 years of follow-up and logistic regression models, restricted to 1,331 participants, to examine cognitive impairment defined as a decrease of ≥5 points after 9 years. We adjusted for socio-demographics, Apoe4 and CVD risk factors.
The annual decrease in 3MS scores was 0.30 points at low PWV (95%CI=−0.37;-0.22), 0.46 points at middle PWV (95%CI=−0.54;-0.39) and 0.45 points at high PWV (95%CI=−0.53;-0.38), from fully-adjusted linear mixed models. In fully-adjusted models, the odds of cognitive impairment after 9 years of follow-up was 40% greater for subjects with middle PWV (OR=1.40; 95% CI=1.03; 1.92) and 59% greater for subjects with high PWV (OR=1.59; 95% CI=1.16; 2.18), compared to low PWV.
High arterial stiffness was modestly associated with cognitive decline and impairment. Interventions to prevent arterial stiffness may be effective in delaying cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC3572783  PMID: 23321445
15.  Inverse Association between Serum Bilirubin Levels and Arterial Stiffness in Korean Women with Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109251.
Considerable evidence suggests that bilirubin is a potent physiologic antioxidant that may provide important protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD) and inflammation. We investigated the relationship between serum total bilirubin (TB) levels and arterial stiffness, measured by the brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), in patients with type 2 diabetes.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 1,711 subjects with type 2 diabetes (807 men and 904 women; mean age, 57.1 years). The subjects were stratified based on gender-specific tertiles of TB values, and a high baPWV was defined as greater than 1,745 cm/s ( >75th percentile).
The serum TB concentration was negatively correlated with the duration of diabetes, HbA1c, the 10-year Framingham risk score, and baPWV and was positively correlated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the eGFR in both genders. Inverse association between TB categories and unadjusted prevalence of high PWV was only observed in women. After adjusting for confounding factors, the TB levels were inversely associated with a greater risk of a high baPWV, both as a continuous variable [a 1-SD difference; odds ratio (OR), 0.70; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.54–0.90; P = 0.005] and when categorized in tertiles (the highest vs. the lowest tertile; OR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.28–0.85; P = 0.011) in women but not in men. The relationship remained significant even after adjusting for retinopathy and nephropathy.
Low TB levels were significantly associated with arterial stiffness in Korean women with type 2 diabetes. Our data suggested that bilirubin may protect against macrovascular disease in diabetic women.
PMCID: PMC4192318  PMID: 25299316
16.  HDL anti-oxidant function associates with LDL level in young adults 
Atherosclerosis  2013;232(1):165-170.
The primary objective was to evaluate predictors of HDL anti-oxidant function in young adults.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered a protective factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, increased levels are not always associated with decreased cardiovascular risk. A better understanding of the importance of HDL functionality and how it affects CVD risk is needed.
Fifty non-Hispanic white subjects from the Testing Responses on Youth (TROY) study were randomly selected to investigate whether differences in HDL anti-oxidant function are associated with traditional cardiovascular risk factors, including carotid intima media thickness (CIMT), arterial stiffness and other inflammatory/metabolic parameters. HDL anti-oxidant capacity was evaluated by assessing its ability to inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidation by air using a DCF-based fluorescent assay and expressed as a HDL oxidant index (HOI). The associations between HOI and other variables were assessed using both linear and logistic regression.
Eleven subjects (25%) had an HOI ≥ 1, indicating a pro-oxidant HDL. Age, LDL, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and paraoxonase activity (PON1), but not HDL, were all associated with HOI level in univariate linear regression models. In multivariate models that mutually adjusted for these variables, LDL remained the strongest predictor of HOI (0.13 increase in HOI per 1 SD increase in LDL, 95% CI 0.04, 0.22).
Atherogenic index of plasma, pulse pressure, homocysteine, glucose, insulin, CIMT and measurements of arterial stiffness were not associated with HOI in this population.
These results suggest LDL, hsCRP and DBP might predict HDL anti-oxidant function at an early age.
PMCID: PMC4039385  PMID: 24401232
high density lipoprotein; antioxidant; paraoxonase; atherosclerosis
17.  Curcumin Ameliorates Arterial Dysfunction and Oxidative Stress with Aging 
Experimental gerontology  2012;48(2):269-276.
We tested the hypothesis that curcumin supplementation would reverse arterial dysfunction and vascular oxidative stress with aging. Young (Y, 4–6 mo) and old (O, 26–28 mo) male C57BL6/N mice were given normal or curcumin supplemented (0.2%) chow for 4 weeks (n = 5–10/group/measure). Large elastic artery stiffness, assessed by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), was greater in O (448 ± 15 vs. 349 ± 15 cm/s) and associated with greater collagen I and advanced glycation end-products and less elastin (all P < 0.05). In O, curcumin restored aPWV (386 ± 15 cm/s), collagen I and AGEs to levels not different vs. Y. Ex vivo carotid artery acetylcholine (ACh)-induced endothelial-dependent dilation (EDD, 79 ± 3 vs. 94 ± 2%), nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and protein expression of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) were lower in O (all P < 0.05). In O, curcumin restored NO-mediated EDD (92 ± 2%) to levels of Y. Acute ex vivo administration of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic TEMPOL normalized EDD in O control mice (93 ± 3%), but had no effect in Y control or O curcumin treated animals. O had greater arterial nitrotyrosine abundance, superoxide production and NADPH oxidase p67 subunit expression, and lower manganese SOD (all P < 0.05), all of which were reversed with curcumin. Curcumin had no effects on Y. Curcumin supplementation ameliorates age-associated large elastic artery stiffening, NO-mediated vascular endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and increases in collagen and AGEs in mice. Curcumin may be a novel therapy for treating arterial aging in humans.
PMCID: PMC3557759  PMID: 23142245
AGEs; arterial stiffness; endothelial function; collagen
18.  Serum Carboxymethyl-lysine, an Advanced Glycation End Product, is Associated with Increased Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity in Adults 
The relationship between advanced glycation end products and arterial stiffness has previously been examined in highly selected groups of patients with diabetes or hypertension. Our aim was to determine whether elevated serum advanced glycation end products are associated with increased arterial stiffness in relatively healthy, community-dwelling adults.
Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), an index of aortic stiffness, and serum AGEs, as represented by the specific AGE, serum carboxymethyl-lysine (CML), were measured in 493 adults, aged 26-93 years, who participated in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.
Mean (SD) PWV (m/sec) was 6.6 (1.8) m/sec. Mean CML was 0.47 (0.13) μg/mL. Serum CML (per 1 Standard Deviation [S.D.]) was associated with PWV (beta = 0.16, standard error [S.E.] = 0.07, P = 0.02), adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, mean arterial pressure, fasting plasma glucose, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking, and other covariates. After excluding all diabetic patients, serum CML (per 1 S.D.) was associated with PWV (beta = 0.18, S.E. = 0.07, P = 0.009), adjusting for the same covariates.
Elevated AGEs are associated with increased arterial stiffness, a known predictor of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, among relatively healthy community-dwelling adults. Interventions to lower levels of AGEs, such as altering the pattern of dietary intake, warrant examination as putative novel strategies to lower arterial stiffness in adults.
PMCID: PMC2637811  PMID: 19023277
advanced glycation end products; aging; arterial stiffness; cardiovascular disease; pulse wave velocity
19.  Risk factors associated with brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity among peritoneal dialysis patients in Macao 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:143.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality among peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients in Macao. Increased arterial stiffness determined by pulse wave velocity (PWV) has been established as an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality in end-stage renal disease patients. The present study aims to investigate the relationship between arterial stiffness and its associated risk factors in chronic PD patients.
A total of 96 chronic PD patients (48 males/48 females) were included in the cross-sectional study. Arterial stiffness was assessed by brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV). Patients were divided into two subgroups according to mean baPWV value. On enrollment, clinical characteristics and biochemical parameters were collected.
Compared with low baPWV group patients, high baPWV group patients were significant older (p<0.001) and more likely to have a high proportion of female gender (p=0.004) as well as previous CVD history (p=0.008). Serum albumin, pre-albumin levels and residual renal creatinine clearance (CCr) were significantly lower but the serum ferritin level was significantly higher in high baPWV group patients than in low baPWV group patients (all p<0.01). BaPWV was positively associated with age (r=0.534, p<0.001), Charlson comorbidity index (r=0.350, p<0.001) and serum ferritin level (r=0.340, p=0.001). Meanwhile, baPWV negatively correlated with serum albumin (r=−0.479, p<0.001), pre-albumin levels (r=−0.320, p=0.003) and residual renal CCr (r=−0.177, p=0.048). Age-adjusted partial correlation test found a significant correlation between baPWV and CRP (r=0.462, p<0.001). Multivariate regression analysis showed that baPWV was independently associated with age (p<0.001), serum albumin level (p=0.015), CRP (p=0.019) and residual renal CCr (p=0.045).
Arterial stiffness, assessed by baPWV, had an independent correlation with age, serum albumin level, CRP level and residual renal CCr among PD patients in Macao.
PMCID: PMC3531255  PMID: 23113871
Arterial stiffness; Pulse wave velocity; Cardiovascular disease; Peritoneal dialysis
20.  Arterial stiffness 
JRSM Cardiovascular Disease  2012;1(6):cvd.2012.012024.
Measurements of biomechanical properties of arteries have become an important surrogate outcome used in epidemiological and interventional cardiovascular research. Structural and functional differences of vessels in the arterial tree result in a dampening of pulsatility and smoothing of blood flow as it progresses to capillary level. A loss of arterial elastic properties results a range of linked pathophysiological changes within the circulation including increased pulse pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy, subendocardial ischaemia, vessel endothelial dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis. With increased arterial stiffness, the microvasculature of brain and kidneys are exposed to wider pressure fluctuations and may lead to increased risk of stroke and renal failure. Stiffening of the aorta, as measured by the gold-standard technique of aortic Pulse Wave Velocity (aPWV), is independently associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes across many different patient groups and in the general population. Therefore, use of aPWV has been proposed for early detection of vascular damage and individual cardiovascular risk evaluation and it seems certain that measurement of arterial stiffness will become increasingly important in future clinical care. In this review we will consider some of the pathophysiological processes that result from arterial stiffening, how it is measured and factors that may drive it as well as potential avenues for therapy. In the face of an ageing population where mortality from atheromatous cardiovascular disease is falling, pathology associated with arterial stiffening will assume ever greater importance. Therefore, understanding these concepts for all clinicians involved in care of patients with cardiovascular disease will become vital.
PMCID: PMC3738364  PMID: 24175072
21.  Low-Density Lipoprotein Apheresis 
Executive Summary
To assess the effectiveness and safety of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) apheresis performed with the heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation (HELP) system for the treatment of patients with refractory homozygous (HMZ) and heterozygous (HTZ) familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
Background on Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic autosomal dominant disorder that is caused by several mutations in the LDL-receptor gene. The reduced number or absence of functional LDL receptors results in impaired hepatic clearance of circulating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) particles, which results in extremely high levels of LDL-C in the bloodstream. Familial hypercholesterolemia is characterized by excess LDL-C deposits in tendons and arterial walls, early onset of atherosclerotic disease, and premature cardiac death.
Familial hypercholesterolemia occurs in both HTZ and HMZ forms.
Heterozygous FH is one of the most common monogenic metabolic disorders in the general population, occurring in approximately 1 in 500 individuals1. Nevertheless, HTZ FH is largely undiagnosed and an accurate diagnosis occurs in only about 15% of affected patients in Canada. Thus, it is estimated that there are approximately 3,800 diagnosed and 21,680 undiagnosed cases of HTZ FH in Ontario.
In HTZ FH patients, half of the LDL receptors do not work properly or are absent, resulting in plasma LDL-C levels 2- to 3-fold higher than normal (range 7-15mmol/L or 300-500mg/dL). Most HTZ FH patients are not diagnosed until middle age when either they or one of their siblings present with symptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD). Without lipid-lowering treatment, 50% of males die before the age of 50 and 25% of females die before the age of 60, from myocardial infarction or sudden death.
In contrast to the HTZ form, HMZ FH is rare (occurring in 1 case per million persons) and more severe, with a 6- to 8-fold elevation in plasma LDL-C levels (range 15-25mmol/L or 500-1000mg/dL). Homozygous FH patients are typically diagnosed in infancy, usually due to the presence of cholesterol deposits in the skin and tendons. The main complication of HMZ FH is supravalvular aortic stenosis, which is caused by cholesterol deposits on the aortic valve and in the ascending aorta. The average life expectancy of affected individuals is 23 to 25 years. In Ontario, it is estimated that there are 13 to 15 cases of HMZ FH. An Ontario clinical expert confirmed that 9 HMZ FH patients have been identified to date.
There are 2 accepted clinical diagnostic criterion for the diagnosis of FH: the Simon Broome FH Register criteria from the United Kingdom and the Dutch Lipid Network criteria from the Netherlands. The criterion supplement cholesterol levels with clinical history, physical signs and family history. DNA-based-mutation-screening methods permit a definitive diagnosis of HTZ FH to be made. However, given that there are over 1000 identified mutations in the LDL receptor gene and that the detection rates of current techniques are low, genetic testing becomes problematic in countries with high genetic heterogeneity, such as Canada.
The primary aim of treatment in both HTZ and HMZ FH is to reduce plasma LDL-C levels in order to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis and CAD.
The first line of treatment is dietary intervention, however it alone is rarely sufficient for the treatment of FH patients. Patients are frequently treated with lipid-lowering drugs such as resins, fibrates, niacin, statins and cholesterol absorption-inhibiting drugs (ezetimibe). Most HTZ FH patients require a combination of drugs to achieve or approach target cholesterol levels.
A small number of HTZ FH patients are refractory to treatment or intolerant to lipid-lowering medication. According to clinical experts, the prevalence of refractory HTZ FH in Ontario is between 1 to 5%. Using the mean of 3%, it is estimated that there are approximately 765 refractory HTZ FH patients in Ontario, of which 115 are diagnosed and 650 are undiagnosed.
Drug therapy is less effective in HMZ FH patients since the effects of the majority of cholesterol-lowering drugs are mediated by the upregulation of LDL receptors, which are often absent or function poorly in HMZ FH patients. Some HMZ FH patients may still benefit from drug therapy, however this rarely reduces LDL-C levels to targeted levels.
Existing Technology: Plasma Exchange
An option currently available in Ontario for FH patients who do not respond to standard diet and drug therapy is plasma exchange (PE). Patients are treated with this lifelong therapy on a weekly or biweekly basis with concomitant drug therapy.
Plasma exchange is nonspecific and eliminates virtually all plasma proteins such as albumin, immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, fibrinolytic factors and HDL-C, in addition to acutely lowering LDL-C by about 50%. Blood is removed from the patient, plasma is isolated, discarded and replaced with a substitution fluid. The substitution fluid and the remaining cellular components of the blood are then returned to the patient.
The major limitation of PE is its nonspecificity. The removal of HDL-C prevents successful vascular remodeling of the areas stenosed by atherosclerosis. In addition, there is an increased susceptibility to infections, and costs are incurred by the need for replacement fluid. Adverse events can be expected to occur in 12% of procedures.
Other Alternatives
Surgical alternatives for FH patients include portocaval shunt, ileal bypass and liver transplantation. However, these are risky procedures and are associated with a high morbidity rate. Results with gene therapy are not convincing to date.
The Technology Being Reviewed: LDL Apheresis
An alternative to PE is LDL apheresis. Unlike PE, LDL apheresis is a selective treatment that removes LDL-C and other atherogenic lipoproteins from the blood while minimally impacting other plasma components such as HDL-C, total serum protein, albumin and immunoglobulins. As with PE, FH patients require lifelong therapy with LDL apheresis on a weekly/biweekly basis with concomitant drug therapy.
Heparin-Induced Extracorporeal LDL Precipitation
Heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation (HELP) is one of the most widely used methods of LDL apheresis. It is a continuous closed-loop system that processes blood extracorporeally. It operates on the principle that at a low pH, LDL and lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] bind to heparin and fibrinogen to form a precipitate which is then removed by filtration. In general, the total duration of treatment is approximately 2 to 3 hours.
Results from early trials indicate that LDL-C concentration is reduced by 65% to 70% immediately following treatment in both HMZ and HTZ FH and then rapidly begins to rise. Typically patients with HTZ FH are treated every 2 weeks while patients with HMZ FH require weekly therapy. Heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation also produces small transient decreases in HDL-C, however levels generally return to baseline within 2 days. After several months of therapy, long-term reductions in LDL-C and increases in HDL-C have been reported.
In addition to having an impact on plasma cholesterol concentrations, HELP lowers plasma fibrinogen, a risk factor for atherosclerosis, and reduces concentrations of cellular adhesion molecules, which play a role in early atherogenesis.
In comparison with PE, HELP LDL apheresis does not have major effects on essential plasma proteins and does not require replacement fluid, thus decreasing susceptibility to infections. One study noted that adverse events were documented in 2.9% of LDL apheresis treatments using the HELP system compared with 12% using PE. As per the manufacturer, patients must weigh at least 30kgs to be eligible for treatment with HELP.
Regulatory Status
The H.E.L.P.® System (B.Braun Medizintechnologie GmbH, Germany) has been licensed by Health Canada since December 2000 as a Class 3 medical device (Licence # 26023) for performing LDL apheresis to acutely remove LDL from the plasma of 3 high-risk patient populations for whom diet has been ineffective and maximum drug therapy has either been ineffective or not tolerated. The 3 patient groups are as follows:
Functional hypercholesterolemic homozygotes with LDL-C >500 mg/dL (>13mmol/L);
Functional hypercholesterolemic heterozygotes with LDL-C >300 mg/dL (>7.8mmol/L);
Functional hypercholesterolemic heterozygotes with LDL-C >200 mg/dL (>5.2mmol/L) and documented CAD
No other LDL apheresis system is currently licensed in Canada.
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat systematically reviewed the literature to assess the effectiveness and safety of LDL apheresis performed with the HELP system for the treatment of patients with refractory HMZ and HTZ FH. A standard search methodology was used to retrieve international health technology assessments and English-language journal articles from selected databases.
The GRADE approach was used to systematically and explicitly make judgments about the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations.
Summary of Findings
The search identified 398 articles published from January 1, 1998 to May 30, 2007. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Five case series, 2 case series nested within comparative studies, and one retrospective review, were included in the analysis. A health technology assessment conducted by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, and a review by the United States Food and Drug Administration were also included.
Large heterogeneity among the studies was observed. Studies varied in inclusion criteria, baseline patient characteristics and methodology.
Overall, the mean acute1 relative decrease in LDL-C with HELP LDL apheresis ranged from 53 to 77%. The mean acute relative reductions ranged as follows: total cholesterol (TC) 47 to 64%, HDL-C +0.4 to -29%, triglycerides (TG) 33 to 62%, Lp(a) 55 to 68% and fibrinogen 56 to 65%.
The mean chronic2 relative decreases in LDL-C and TC with HELP LDL apheresis ranged from 9 to 46% and 5 to 34%, respectively. Familial hypercholesterolemia patients treated with HELP did not achieve the target LDL-C value set by international guidelines (LDL-C < 2.5mmol/L, 100mg/dL). The chronic mean relative increase in HDL-C ranged from 12 to 27%. The ratio of LDL:HDL and the ratio of TC:HDL are 2 measures that have been shown to be important risk factors for cardiac events. In high-risk patients, the recommended target LDL:HDL ratio is less than or equal to 2, and the target TC:HDL ratio is less than 4. In the studies that reported chronic lipid changes, the LDL:HDL and TC:HDL ratios exceeded targeted values.
Three studies investigated the effects of HELP on coronary outcomes and atherosclerotic changes. One noted that twice as many lesions displayed regression in comparison to those displaying progression. The second study found that there was a decrease in Agatston scores3 and in the volume of coronary calcium. The last study noted that 2 of 5 patients showed regression of coronary atherosclerosis, and 3 of the 5 patients showed no change as assessed by a global change score.
Adverse effects were typically mild and transient, and the majority of events were related to problems with vascular access. Of the 3 studies that provided quantitative information, the proportion of adverse events ranged from 2.9 to 5.1%.
GRADE Quality of Evidence
In general, studies were of low quality, i.e., case series studies (Tables 1-3). No controlled studies were identified and no studies directly compared the effectiveness of the HELP system with PE or with diet and drug therapy. Conducting trials with a sufficiently large control group would not have been feasible or acceptable given that HELP represents a last alternative in these patients who are resistant to conventional therapeutic strategies.
A major limitation is that there is limited evidence on the effectiveness and safety of HELP apheresis in HMZ FH patients. However, it is unlikely that better-quality evidence will become available, given that HMZ FH is rare and LDL apheresis is a last therapeutic option for these patients.
Lastly, there is limited data on the long-term effects of LDL apheresis in FH patients. No studies with HELP were identified that examined long-term outcomes such as survival and cardiovascular events. The absence of this data may be attributed to the rarity of the condition, and the large number of subjects and long duration of follow-up that would be needed to conduct such trials.
Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia - Lipid Outcomes
Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia - Lipid Outcomes
Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia - Coronary Artery Disease Outcomes
Economic Analysis
A budget-impact analysis was conducted to forecast future costs for PE and HELP apheresis in FH patients. All costs are reported in Canadian dollars. Based on epidemiological data of 13 HMZ, 115 diagnosed HTZ and 765 cases of all HTZ patients (diagnosed + undiagnosed), the annual cost of weekly treatment was estimated to be $488,025, $4,332,227 and $24,758,556 respectively for PE. For HELP apheresis, the annual cost of weekly treatment was estimated to be $1,025,338, $9,156,209 and $60,982,579 respectively. Costs for PE and HELP apheresis were halved with a biweekly treatment schedule.
The cost per coronary artery disease death avoided over a 10-year period in HTZ FH-diagnosed patients was also calculated and estimated to be $37.5 million and $18.7 million for weekly and biweekly treatment respectively, when comparing HELP apheresis with PE and with no intervention. Although HELP apheresis costs twice as much as PE, it helped to avoid 12 deaths compared with PE and 22 deaths compared with no intervention, over a period of 10 years.
Ontario Health System Impact Analysis
Low-density lipoprotein apheresis using the HELP system is currently being funded by the provinces of Quebec and Alberta. The program in Quebec has been in operation since 2001 and is limited to the treatment of HMZ FH patients. The Alberta program is relatively new and is currently treating HMZ FH patients, but it is expanding to include refractory HTZ FH patients.
Low-density lipoprotein apheresis is a lifelong treatment and requires considerable commitment on the part of the patient, and the patient’s family and physician. In addition, the management of FH continues to evolve. With the advent of new more powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs, some HTZ patients may be able to sufficiently control their hypercholesterolemia. Nevertheless, according to clinical experts, HMZ patients will likely always require LDL apheresis.
Given the substantial costs associated with LDL apheresis, treatment has been limited to HMZ FH patients. However, LDL apheresis could be applied to a much larger population, which would include HTZ FH patients who are refractory to diet and drug therapy. HTZ FH patients are generally recruited in a more advanced state, demonstrate a longer natural survival than HMZ FH patients and are older.
For HMZ FH patients, the benefits of LDL apheresis clearly outweigh the risks and burdens. According to GRADE, the recommendation would be graded as strong, with low- to very low-quality evidence (Table 4).
In both HMZ and HTZ FH patients, there is evidence of overall clinical benefit of LDL apheresis from case series studies. Low-density lipoprotein apheresis has several advantages over the current treatment of PE, including decreased exposure to blood products, decreased risk of adverse events, conservation of nonatherogenic and athero-protective components, such as HDL-C and lowering of other atherogenic components, such as fibrinogen.
In contrast to HMZ FH patients, there remains a lot of uncertainty in the social/ethical acceptance of this technology for the treatment of refractory HTZ FH patients. In addition to the substantial costs, it is unknown whether the current health care system could cope with the additional demand. There is uncertainty in the estimates of benefits, risks and burdens. According to GRADE, the recommendation would be graded as weak with low- to very-low-quality evidence (Table 5).
GRADE Recommendation - Homozygous Patients
GRADE of recommendation: Strong recommendation, low-quality or very-low-quality evidence
Benefits clearly outweigh risk and burdens
Case series study designs
Strong, but may change when higher-quality evidence becomes available
GRADE Recommendation - Heterozygous Patients
GRADE of recommendation: Weak recommendation, low-quality or very-low-quality evidence
Uncertainty in the estimates of benefits, risks and burden, which these may be closely balanced
Case series study designs
Very weak; other alternatives may be equally reasonable
PMCID: PMC3377562  PMID: 23074505
22.  Prehypertension-Associated Elevation in Circulating Lysophosphatidlycholines, Lp-PLA2 Activity, and Oxidative Stress 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96735.
Prehypertension is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. We investigated alterations in plasma metabolites that are associated with prehypertension. A group of 53 individuals was identified who remained within the range of prehypertension during repeated measurements in a 3-year period. This group was compared with the control group of 53 normotensive subjects who were matched for age and gender. Metabolomic profiles were analyzed with UPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap mass spectrometry. The prehypertensive group showed higher levels of lysophosphatidylcholines (lysoPCs) containing C14:0, C16:1, C16:0, C18:2, C18:1, C18:0, C20:5, C20:4, C20:3, and C22:6, higher circulating Lp-PLA2 activity, oxidized LDL (ox-LDL), interleukin 6 (IL-6), urinary 8-epi-PGF2α, and higher brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (ba-PWV), before and after adjusting for BMI, WHR, smoking, alcohol consumption, serum lipid profiles, glucose, and insulin. LysoPC (16:0) was the most important plasma metabolite for evaluating the difference between control and prehypertensive groups, with a variable important in the projection (VIP) value of 17.173, and it showed a positive and independent association with DBP and SBP. In the prehypertensive group, the levels of lysoPC (16:0) positively and significantly correlated with ox-LDL, Lp-PLA2 activity, 8-epi-PGF2α, ba-PWV, and IL-6 before and after adjusting for confounding variables. Prehypertension-associated elevations in lysoPCs, Lp-PLA2 activity, ox-LDL, urinary 8-epi-PGF2α, IL-6, and ba-PWV could indicate increased oxidative stress from Lp-PLA2-catalyzed PC hydrolysis during increased LDL oxidation, thereby enhancing proinflammation and arterial stiffness.
PMCID: PMC4011750  PMID: 24800806
23.  Effects of Fluvastatin on Plasma Levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein Subfractions, Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein, and Soluble Adhesion Molecules: A Twenty-Four–Week, Open-Label, Dose-Increasing Study 
Background: Statins not only lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, but also have several antiarteriosclerotic effects (eg, decreasing arterial inflammation and arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation, as well as antioxidant effects). The relationship between the dose of statin and its effects on plasma LDL levels and other arteriosclerosis-related effects remains to be clarified.
Objective: We investigated the effect of a statin, fluvastatin, on plasma levels of lipoprotein subfractions, oxidized LDL (Ox-LDL), Ox-LDL immunoglobulin G (IgG), soluble adhesion molecules, reverse cholesterol transport (ie, transport of esterified high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C] to triglyceride [TG]-rich lipoproteins by cholesteryl ester transfer protein [CETP] and reduction of plasma HDL-C levels), and on the intima-medial thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries.
Methods: Patients with nonfamilial type 2 hyperlipoproteinemia were eligible for this open-label, dose-increasing study. Fluvastatin 20 mg/d was administered for the first 12 weeks, and the daily dose was increased to 40 mg for the subsequent 12 weeks. Patients were examined at baseline and after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment. Plasma lipoprotein subfractions were determined using sequential ultracentrifugation at 100,000g. The plasma levels of Ox-LDL, Ox-LDL-IgG, CETP, and soluble adhesion molecules were measured using sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The maximum IMT of the common carotid arteries was measured using sonography.
Results: The plasma levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and apolipoprotein (apo) B were reduced by 25% and 17%, respectively (P<0.001 for both), after 12 weeks of treatment with fluvastatin 20 mg/d; no further significant reductions in LDL were observed after increasing the daily dose to 40 mg. Fluvastatin 20 mg/d for 12 weeks decreased plasma levels of intermediate-density lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL-I-C, LDL-II-C, and LDL-III-C by 25% (P<0.01), 30% (P<0.001), 23% (P<0.01), and 20% (P = 0.02), respectively. No further significant reductions in these levels were observed after increasing the daily dose to 40 mg. The plasma levels of Ox-LDL decreased in a similar fashion to the plasma levels of LDL-C (P<0.001). However, plasma levels of Ox-LDL-IgG and soluble P-selectin did not decrease after 12 weeks of fluvastatin 20 mg/d, but did decrease significantly (both 22%) after the next 12 weeks of treatment with fluvastatin 40 mg/d (P<0.05). Plasma levels of intercellular adhesion molecule 1and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and CETP mass were not altered by fluvastatin treatment. Significant changes in maximum IMT of the common carotid arteries were not seen throughout 24 weeks of fluvastatin treatment.
Conclusions: In this patient population, fluvastatin 20 mg/d was sufficient to significantly reduce plasma levels of LDL, the 3 LDL subfractions, and Ox-LDL, but was not sufficient to reduce plasma levels of Ox-LDL-IgG and soluble P-selectin. It is important to check not only plasma lipoprotein levels but also other factors relating to arteriosclerosis during treatment with statins for the prevention and treatment of arteriosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4052990  PMID: 24944371
fluvastatin; lipoprotein subfractions; oxidized LDL; adhesion molecules; reverse cholesterol transport; carotid arteriosclerosis
24.  Impact of ADMA, endothelial progenitor cells and traditional cardiovascular risk factors on pulse wave velocity among prediabetic individuals 
Central arterial stiffness represents a well-established predictor of cardiovascular disease. Decreased circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), increased asymmetric dimethyl-arginine (ADMA) levels, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and insulin resistance have all been associated with increased arterial stiffness. The correlations of novel and traditional cardiovascular risk factors with central arterial stiffness in prediabetic individuals were investigated in the present study.
The study population consisted of 53 prediabetic individuals. Individuals were divided into groups of isolated impaired fasting glucose (IFG), isolated impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and combined IGT-IFG. Age, sex, family history of diabetes, smoking history, body mass index (BMI), waist to hip ratio (WHR), waist circumference (WC), blood pressure, lipid profile, levels of high sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and history of antihypertensive or statin therapy were obtained from all participants. Insulin resistance was evaluated using the Homeostatic Model Assessment (HOMA-IR). Carotid -femoral pulse wave velocity was used as an index of arterial stiffness. Circulating EPC count and ADMA serum levels were also determined.
Among studied individuals 30 (56.6%) subjects were diagnosed with isolated IFG, 9 (17%) with isolated IGT (17%) and 14 with combined IFG-IGT (26.4%). In univariate analysis age, mean blood pressure, fasting glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and ADMA levels positively correlated with pulse-wave velocity while exercise and GFR correlated negatively. EPC count did not correlate with PWV. In multivariate stepwise regression analysis PWV correlated independently and positively with LDL-Cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) and ADMA levels and negatively with exercise.
Elevated ADMA and LDL-C levels are strongly associated with increased arterial stiffness among pre-diabetic subjects. In contrast exercise inversely correlated with arterial stiffness.
PMCID: PMC3527304  PMID: 23153108
Pre-diabetes; ADMA; Pulse wave velocity; Endothelial progenitor cells
25.  Relationship between carotid intima‐media thickness and arterial stiffness in children after Kawasaki disease 
Evidence of premature atherosclerosis and systemic arterial stiffening in patients after Kawasaki disease is accumulating.
To test the hypothesis that carotid intima‐media thickness (IMT), a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis, is associated with systemic arterial stiffness in children after Kawasaki disease.
A cohort of 72 patients was studied, comprising 26 patients with Kawasaki disease and coronary aneurysms (group I), 24 patients with Kawasaki disease and normal coronary arteries (group II) and 22 healthy age‐matched children (group III). The carotid IMT, carotid artery stiffness index, brachioradial pulse wave velocity (PWV), fasting total cholesterol, high‐density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low‐density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were determined and compared among the three groups.
The carotid IMT was related to indices of arterial stiffness, and significant determinants of carotid IMT were identified by multivariate analysis. The mean (standard deviation (SD)) carotid IMT of both group I (0.41 (0.04) mm) and group II (0.39 (0.04) mm) was significantly greater than that of group III (0.36 (0.04) mm; p<0.001 and p = 0.008, respectively). For the entire cohort, carotid IMT correlated positively with LDL cholesterol (r = 0.31, p = 0.009), carotid artery stiffness index (r = 0.40, p = 0.001) and brachioradial PWV (r = 0.28, p = 0.016), but not with age, body mass index, systemic blood pressure, and HDL and total cholesterol. Multiple linear regression analysis identified carotid artery stiffness index (β = 0.25, p = 0.028) and subject grouping (β = −0.39, p = 0.001; model R2 = 0.29) as significant correlates of carotid IMT.
The increased carotid IMT in children after Kawasaki disease is associated with systemic arterial stiffening.
PMCID: PMC2083125  PMID: 16820386

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