Obesity demonstrates a direct relation with cardiovascular risk and all-cause mortality, while cardiorespiratory fitness demonstrates an inverse relation. In clinical practice, several cardiometabolic (“CM”) risk factors are commonly measured to gauge cardiovascular risk yet the interaction between fitness and obesity with regard CM risk has not been fully explored. We studied 2,634 Brazilian adults referred for an employer-sponsored heath exam. Obesity was defined as BMI >30 kg/m2 or waist circumference > 102cm (men) or >88cm (women) when BMI 25–30kg/m2. Fitness was quantified by stage achieved on an Ellestad treadmill stress test, with those completing stage 4 considered fit. Hepatic steatosis was determined by ultrasound. We compared CM risk factors after stratifying patients into 4 groups: fit/normal weight, fit/obese, unfit/normal weight & unfit/obese. Approximately 22% of patients were obese; 12% were unfit. Fitness and obesity were moderately correlated (ρ=0.38–50). 6.5% of the sample was unfit/normal weight, and 16% fit/obese. In overweight and obese patients, fitness was negatively associated with CM risk (p<0.01 for all values). In fit patients, increasing BMI was positively associated with CM risk (p<0.01 for all values). In instances of discordance between fitness and obesity, obesity was the stronger determinant of CM risk. Fitness and obesity are independently associated with CM risk. The effects of fitness and obesity are additive but obesity is more strongly associated with CM risk when fitness and obesity are discordant. These findings underscore the need for weight loss in obese individuals and suggest an unmeasured benefit of fitness.
fitness; obesity; metabolic syndrome; liver fat; inflammation
Given the results of the JUPITER trial, statin initiation may be considered for individuals with elevated high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP). However, if followed prospectively, many individuals with elevated CRP may become statin-eligible, limiting the impact of elevated CRP as a treatment indication. This analysis estimates the proportion of people with elevated CRP that become statin eligible over time.
We followed 2,153 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes with LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) <130 mg/dL at baseline to determine the proportion who become eligible for statins over 4.5 years. The proportion eligible for statin therapy, defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) 2004 updated guidelines, was calculated at baseline and during follow-up stratified by baseline CRP level (≥2 mg/L).
At baseline, 47% of the 2,153 participants had elevated CRP. Among participants with elevated CRP, 29% met NCEP criteria for statins, compared to 28% without elevated CRP at baseline. By 1.5 years later, 26% and 22% (p=0.09) of those with and without elevated CRP at baseline reached NCEP LDL-C criteria and/or had started statins, respectively. These increased to 42% and 39% (p=0.24) at 3 years and 59% and 52% (p=0.01) at 4.5 years following baseline.
A substantial proportion of those with elevated CRP did not achieve NCEP based statin eligibility over 4.5 years of follow-up. These findings suggest that many patients with elevated CRP may not receive the benefits of statins if CRP is not incorporated into the NCEP screening strategy.
The internet is gaining popularity as a means of delivering employee-based cardiovascular (CV) wellness interventions though little is known about the cardiovascular health outcomes of these programs. In this review, we examined the effectiveness of internet-based employee cardiovascular wellness and prevention programs.
We conducted a systematic review by searching PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane library for all published studies on internet-based programs aimed at improving CV health among employees up to November 2012. We grouped the outcomes according to the American Heart Association (AHA) indicators of cardiovascular wellbeing – weight, BP, lipids, smoking, physical activity, diet, and blood glucose.
A total of 18 randomized trials and 11 follow-up studies met our inclusion/exclusion criteria. Follow-up duration ranged from 6 – 24 months. There were significant differences in intervention types and number of components in each intervention. Modest improvements were observed in more than half of the studies with weight related outcomes while no improvement was seen in virtually all the studies with physical activity outcome. In general, internet-based programs were more successful if the interventions also included some physical contact and environmental modification, and if they were targeted at specific disease entities such as hypertension. Only a few of the studies were conducted in persons at-risk for CVD, none in blue-collar workers or low-income earners.
Internet based programs hold promise for improving the cardiovascular wellness among employees however much work is required to fully understand its utility and long term impact especially in special/at-risk populations.
Increased uric acid (UA) is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease. However, the independent role of UA is still debated because it is associated with several cardiovascular risk factors including obesity and metabolic syndrome. This study assessed the association of UA with increased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), increased ratio of triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (TG/HDL), sonographically detected hepatic steatosis, and their clustering in the presence and absence of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We evaluated 3,518 employed subjects without clinical cardiovascular disease from November 2008 through July 2010. Prevalence of hs-CRP ≥3 mg/L was 19%, that of TG/HDL ≥3 was 44%, and that of hepatic steatosis was 43%. In multivariable logistic regression after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors and confounders, highest versus lowest UA quartile was associated with hs-CRP ≥3 mg/L (odds ratio [OR] 1.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01 to 2.28, p = 0.04), TG/HDL ≥3 (OR 3.29, 95% CI 2.36 to 4.60, p <0.001), and hepatic steatosis (OR 3.10, 95% CI 2.22 to 4.32, p <0.001) independently of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Association of UA with hs-CRP ≥3 mg/L became nonsignificant in analyses stratified by obesity. Ascending UA quartiles compared to the lowest UA quartile demonstrated a graded increase in the odds of having 2 or 3 of these risk conditions and a successive decrease in the odds of having none. In conclusion, high UA levels were associated with increased TG/HDL and hepatic steatosis independently of metabolic syndrome and obesity and with increased hs-CRP independently of metabolic syndrome.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women and the treatment of dyslipidemia is a cornerstone of secondary prevention. Pharmacologic therapy with statins can lower LDL-C by 30–50% and reduce the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease in both men and women. While significant reductions in LDL-C can be achieved with statin therapy, diet and lifestyle modification remain an essential part of the treatment regimen for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, a large proportion of the U.S. population is sedentary, overweight, and does not consume a heart-healthy diet. Non-pharmacologic treatment strategies also improve other cardiovascular risk factors and are generally easily accessible. In this review, we examine the effect of non-pharmacologic therapy on lipids as part of the secondary prevention strategy of cardiovascular disease in women.
women; dyslipidemias; cardiovascular diseases; secondary prevention; diet; lifestyle
In cross-sectional studies, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have higher coronary artery calcium (CAC) than controls. However, their rate of progression of CAC and the predictors of CAC progression have heretofore remained unknown.
Incidence and progression of CAC were compared in 155 patients with RA and 835 control participants. The association of demographic characteristics, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, RA disease characteristics and selected inflammatory markers with incidence and progression of CAC were evaluated.
The incidence rate of newly detected CAC was 8.2/100 person-years in RA and 7.3/100 person-years in non-RA control subjects [IRR 1.1 (0.7-1.8)]. RA patients who developed newly detectable CAC were older (59±7 vs. 55±6 years old, p=0.03), had higher triglyceride levels (137±86 vs. 97±60 mg/dL, p=0.03), and higher systolic blood pressure (129±17 vs. 117±15 mm Hg, p=0.01) compared to those who did not develop incident CAC. Differences in blood pressure and triglyceride levels remained significant after adjustment for age (p<=0.05). RA patients with any CAC at baseline had a median rate of yearly progression of 21 (7–62) compared to 21 (5–70) Agatston units in controls. No statistical differences between RA progressors and RA non-progressors were observed for inflammatory markers or for RA disease characteristics.
The incidence and progression of CAC did not differ between RA and non-RA participants. In patients with RA, incident CAC was associated with older age, higher triglyceride levels, and higher blood pressure, but not with inflammatory markers or RA disease characteristics.
While the Framingham Risk Score provides a reasonable estimation of risk in certain subgroups, the majority of MIs occur in individuals classified as low or moderate risk. Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) testing provides an individualized measure of atherosclerotic burden that integrates an individual’s cumulative lifetime risk factor exposure that cannot be obtained from serum markers.
Methods and Results
We briefly summarize the existing evidence for the use of CAC scanning in primary prevention and performed a meta-analysis of the existing randomized controlled data investigating the impact of CAC screening on lifestyle modification, risk factors, and downstream testing. We identified four trials published between 2003 and 2011 with a total of 2,490 participants, >75% of whom came from the Early Identification of Subclinical Atherosclerosis by Noninvasive Imaging Research (EISNER) trial. Three of the trials reported a non-significant increase in smoking cessation in the scan versus no-scan group with a pooled mean of 1.15 (95% CI 0.77 – 1.71). A significant reduction in SBP and LDL was noted in the EISNER trial, but the pooled estimates were 0.23mmHg (95% CI −2.25 – 2.71) and 0.23mg/dL (95% CI −5.96 – 6.42), respectively. Only the EISNER trial reported medication usage according to CAC score. They found a higher CAC score associated with an increased prescription of lipid lowering medications (p=<0.001) and a CAC=0 associated with fewer prescriptions for lipid lowering medications (p=0.02).
Our meta-analysis highlights the paucity of randomized evidence linking CAC scanning to improved intermediate and hard outcomes in primary prevention. Future trials are urgently needed to determine the impact of CAC screening on lifestyle modification, risk factor modification, and downstream testing.
coronary artery disease; risk factors; primary prevention; imaging
The purpose of the study was to examine and compare the incidence and progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC) among persons with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and diabetes mellitus (DM), compared to those with neither condition.
MetS and DM are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis as evidenced by coronary artery calcium (CAC).
The Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis included 6,814 African-American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic adults aged 45–84 free of cardiovascular disease at baseline. 5,662 subjects (51% female, mean age 61.0 ± 10.3 years) received baseline and follow-up (mean 2.4 years) cardiac CT scans. We compared the incidence of CAC in 2,927 subjects without CAC at baseline and progression of CAC in 2,735 subjects with CAC at baseline in those with MetS without DM (25.2%), DM without MetS (3.5%), or both DM and MetS (9.0%), compared to neither MetS nor DM (58%). Progression of CAC was also examined in relation to coronary heart disease events over an additional 4.9 years.
Relative to those with neither MetS nor DM, adjusted relative risks (95% confidence intervals) for incident CAC were 1.7 (1.4–2.0), 1.9 (1.4–2.4), and 1.8 (1.4–2.2) (all p<0.01) and absolute differences in mean progression (volume score) were 7.8 (4.0–11.6; p<0.01), 11.6 (2.7–20.5; p<0.05), and 22.6 (17.2–27.9; p<0.01) for those with MetS without DM, DM without MetS, and both DM and MetS, respectively. Similar findings were seen in analysis using Agatston calcium score. In addition, progression predicted CHD events in those with MetS without DM (adjusted hazard ratio 4.1, 95% CI=2.0–8.5, p<0.01) and DM (4.9 [1.3–18.4], p<0.05) among those in highest tertile of CAC increase vs. no increase).
Individuals with MetS and DM have a greater incidence and absolute progression of CAC compared to individuals without these conditions, with progression also predicting CHD events in those with MetS and DM.
atherosclerosis; diabetes; risk factors; calcification
It is unclear whether coronary artery calcium (CAC) is effective for risk stratifying patients with diabetes in whom treatment decisions are uncertain.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Of 44,052 asymptomatic individuals referred for CAC testing, we studied 2,384 individuals with diabetes. Subjects were followed for a mean of 5.6 ± 2.6 years for the end point of all-cause mortality.
There were 162 deaths (6.8%) in the population. CAC was a strong predictor of mortality across age-groups (age <50, 50–59, ≥60), sex, and risk factor burden (0 vs. ≥1 additional risk factor). In individuals without a clear indication for aspirin per current guidelines, CAC stratified risk, identifying patients above and below the 10% risk threshold of presumed aspirin benefit.
CAC can help risk stratify individuals with diabetes and may aid in selection of patients who may benefit from therapies such as low-dose aspirin for primary prevention.
The majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in postmenopausal women. Competing comorbidities, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD), should be considered when individualizing adjuvant therapies for these women. We compared the 10-year predicted breast cancer recurrence risk with CVD risk among postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+), non-metastatic breast cancer. CVD risk factor data were prospectively collected from postmenopausal women with stage I-III, HR+ breast cancer initiating adjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy. We compared predicted 10-year CVD risk, including the composite index heart age, computed from modified Framingham risk score, with predicted 10-year risk of breast cancer recurrence using Adjuvant! Online. We created multivariable logistic regression models to estimate the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for greater CVD risk than breast cancer recurrence risk. Among 415 women, mean age and heart age were 60 and 67 years, respectively. Overall, 43% of women had a predicted 10-year CVD risk equivalent to breast cancer recurrence risk and 37% had CVD risk higher than breast cancer recurrence risk. Predicted CVD risk was higher than breast cancer recurrence risk for stage I disease (OR: 6.1, 95% CI: 3.4–11.2) or heart age >65 (OR: 12.4, 95% CI: 7.0–22.6). The majority of postmenopausal women with HR+ early breast cancer had a predicted 10-year CVD risk that was equivalent to or higher than breast cancer recurrence risk. Physicians should weigh competing risks and offer early screening and cardiac prevention strategies for women at a greater risk for CVD.
Breast cancer risk; Cardiovascular disease risk; Adjuvant! Online; Modified Framingham risk score; Cancer survivorship
Despite the recognized risk of accelerated atherosclerosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), little is known about cardiovascular risk management in contemporary cohorts of these patients. We tested the hypotheses that major modifiable cardiovascular risk factors were more frequent and rates of treatment, detection, and control were lower in patients with RA than in non-RA controls.
The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, elevated body mass index, smoking, moderate-high 10-year cardiovascular risk and the rates of underdiagnosis, therapeutic treatment, and recommended management were compared in 197 RA patients and 274 frequency-matched control subjects, and their associations with clinical characteristics were examined.
Eighty percent of RA patients and 81% of control subjects had at least 1 modifiable traditional cardiovascular risk factor. Hypertension was more prevalent in the RA group (57%) than in controls [42%, P =0.001]. There were no statistically significant differences in the frequency of diabetes, elevated body mass index, smoking, intermediate-high 10-year coronary heart disease risk, or elevated LDL in patients with RA versus controls. Rates of newly identified diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia were similar in RA patients versus controls. Rates of therapeutic interventions were low in both groups but their use was associated with well-controlled blood pressure (OR = 4.55, 95% CI: 1.70, 12.19) and lipid levels (OR = 9.90, 95% CI: 3.30, 29.67).
Hypertension is more common in RA than in controls. Other traditional cardiovascular risk factors are highly prevalent, underdiagnosed, and poorly controlled in patients with RA, as well as controls.
rheumatoid arthritis; cardiovascular risk; epidemiology
Observational studies have demonstrated a decreased incidence of cancers among users of HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and a reduced risk of recurrence among statin users diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. We initiated a prospective study to identify potential biomarkers of simvastatin chemopreventive activity that can be validated in future trials. The contralateral breast of women with a previous history of breast cancer was used as a high-risk model. Eligible women who had completed all planned treatment of a prior stage 0–III breast cancer received simvastatin 40 mg orally daily for 24–28 weeks. At baseline and end-of-study, we measured circulating concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), estrogens, and fasting lipids; breast density on contralateral breast mammogram; and quality of life by Rand Short Form 36-Item health survey. Fifty women were enrolled with a median age of 53 years. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride, and hsCRP fell significantly during the study (P values < 0.001, <0.001, 0.003, and 0.05, respectively). Estrone sulfate concentrations decreased with simvastatin treatment (P = 0.01 overall), particularly among post-menopausal participants (P = 0.006). We did not observe a significant change in circulating estradiol or estrone concentrations, contralateral mammographic breast density, or reported physical functioning or pain scores. This study demonstrates the feasibility of short-term biomarker modulation studies using the contralateral breast of high-risk women. Simvastatin appears to modulate estrone sulfate concentrations and its potential chemopreventive activity in breast cancer warrants further investigation.
Simvastastin; Breast density; Chemoprevention; Breast cancer; Contralateral breast
We assessed the association between sleep apnea, snoring, incident cardiovascular (CV) events and all-cause mortality in the Multi Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort.
Out of 5338 respondents to a sleep questionnaire administered during the second MESA exam period, 208 had physician-diagnosed sleep apnea (PDSA), 1452 were habitual snorers (HS) and 3678 were neither a habitual snorer nor had PDSA (normal participants). Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to assess the associations adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, smoking, diabetes mellitus, total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides, BMI, current alcohol use, benzodiazepine use, BP medications and statin use.
Over a 7.5 year average follow-up period, 310 adjudicated CV events including MI, stroke, angina, resuscitated cardiac arrest, stroke death and CVD death and 189 deaths occurred. Compared to HS, PDSA was associated with higher incident CV rates in both univariate and multivariable models [hazard ratio (95%); 1.89(1.22–2.93), p=0.004 and 1.91(1.20 –3.04), p=0.007 respectively]. PDSA was also associated with a higher death rates compared with HS [hazard ratio (95%); 2.13(1.25 – 3.63), p=0.006 and 2.70(1.52– 4.79), p=0.007 respectively]. Compared with normal participants, PDSA had higher incident CV event rates in both univariate and multivariable models [hazard ratio (95%); 2.23[1.39–3.60], p=0.001 and 2.16[1.30–3.58], p=0.003 respectively]. Similarly, PDSA had a higher death rate compared with normal participants in both the univariate and multivariable models [hazard ratio (95%CI); 2.44(1.36 – 4.37), p=0.003 and 2.71(1.45 – 5.08), p=0.002 respectively]. Habitual snorers had similar incident CV event rates and death rates in both univariate and multivariable models compared with normal participants.
PDSA but not habitual snoring was associated with high incident CV events and all-cause mortality in a multi-ethnic population based study of adults free of clinical CV disease at baseline.
Obstructive sleep apnea; habitual snorers; cardiovascular events; mortality; population
To explore predictors of change in measures of carotid atherosclerosis among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients without known cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline
RA patients underwent carotid ultrasonography at two timepoints, separated by an average of 3.2 ± 0.3 years. The associations of baseline and average patient characteristics with the average yearly change in mean maximal intima-medial thickness (IMT) of the common (CCA) and internal carotid arteries (ICA), and with incident or progressive plaque in the ICA/carotid bulb, were explored.
Among the 158 RA patients, maxCCA-IMT increased in 82% (median=16 μm/year; p<0.001) and maxICA-IMT increased in 70% (median=25 μm/year; p<0.001). Incident plaque was observed in 14% without baseline plaque [incidence rate=4.2/100 person-years (95% CI 1.61–6.82)]. Plaque progression was observed in 5% with baseline plaque. Among RA predictors, the adjusted average yearly change in maxCCA-IMT was significantly greater in patients with earlier RA vs. longer disease. Those prescribed TNF inhibitors at baseline had a 37% lower adjusted rate of maxCCA-IMT progression vs. non-users (14 vs. 22 μm/year; p=0.026). For maxICA-IMT, cumulative prednisone exposure was associated with progression [1.2 μm/year per gram (95% CI 0.1–2.4)] after adjustment, and was lower in patients prescribed statins concomitant with prednisone. Higher swollen joint count and higher average CRP were both associated with incident or progressive plaque, primarily in patients with elevated baseline CVD risk based on the Framingham score.
These prospective data provide evidence for inflammation as a contributor to subclinical atherosclerosis progression in RA, potentially modified favorably by TNF inhibitors and detrimentally by glucocorticoids.
Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; prediction; carotid ultrasound
While metabolic syndrome (MetS) and diabetes confer greater cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, recent evidence suggests that individuals with these conditions have a wide range of risk. We evaluated whether screening for coronary artery calcium (CAC) and carotid intimal-medial thickness (CIMT) can improve CVD risk stratification over traditional risk factors (RFs) in people with MetS and diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We assessed CAC and CIMT in 6,603 people aged 45–84 years in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Cox regression examined the association of CAC and CIMT with coronary heart disease (CHD) and CVD over 6.4 years in MetS and diabetes.
Of the subjects, 1,686 (25%) had MetS but no diabetes and 881 (13%) had diabetes. Annual CHD event rates were 1.0% among MetS and 1.5% for diabetes. Ethnicity and RF-adjusted hazard ratios for CHD for CAC 1–99 to ≥400 vs. 0 in subjects with neither MetS nor diabetes ranged from 2.6 to 9.5; in those with MetS, they ranged from 3.9 to 11.9; and in those with diabetes, they ranged from 2.9 to 6.2 (all P < 0.05 to P < 0.001). Findings were similar for CVD. CAC increased the C-statistic for events (P < 0.001) over RFs and CIMT in each group while CIMT added negligibly to prediction over RFs.
Individuals with MetS or diabetes have low risks for CHD when CAC or CIMT is not increased. Prediction of CHD and CVD events is improved by CAC more than by CIMT. Screening for CAC or CIMT can stratify risk in people with MetS and diabetes and support the latest recommendations regarding CAC screening in those with diabetes.
We hypothesized that insulin resistance, measured by the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA), is independently associated with prevalent and incident extra-coronary calcification (ECC).
We studied calcium scores of the aortic valve (AVC), mitral valve (MVC), thoracic aorta (TAC) and aortic valve root (AVR) in 6,104 MESA participants not on diabetes medication who had baseline cardiac CT scans; 5,312 had follow-up scans (mean 2.4y). Relative-risk regression modeled prevalent and incident ECC adjusted for baseline demographics (model 1), and additionally for CVD risk factors (model 2).
In model 1, prevalence and incidence risk-ratios for the highest versus lowest quartile of HOMA were 20–30% higher in all ECC locations (p-value for trend ≤0.05 for all but incident-AVC). In model 2, all associations were attenuated, primarily by adjustment for metabolic syndrome components.
HOMA has a positive and graded association with ECC, but not independently of cardiovascular risk factors—particularly metabolic syndrome components.
cardiovascular calcification; insulin resistance; atherosclerosis; metabolic syndrome; computed tomography; valvular calcification; thoracic aortic calcification
The JUPITER trial demonstrated that some patients with LDL-C <130 mg/dL and hsCRP ≥2 mg/L benefit from rosuvastatin, although absolute event rates were low. We sought to determine whether coronary artery calcium (CAC) may further risk stratify a JUPITER-eligible population, and to compare hsCRP vs. CAC for risk prediction in otherwise JUPITER-eligible participants.
A total of 950 MESA participants met all JUPITER entry criteria. We compared CHD and CVD event rates and multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios after stratifying by both presence and burden of CAC (0, 1–100, >100). We also calculated 5-year number needed to treat (NNT5) by applying the benefit observed in JUPITER to the observed event rates within each CAC strata.
Median follow-up was 5.8 years. Approximately 47% of the MESA JUPITER population had CAC=0, and CHD event rates in this group were <1 per 1000 person-years. Over 2/3 of all CHD events occurred in the 25% of participants with CAC >100 (20.2 per 1000 person-years). For CHD, the predicted NNT5 for CAC 0, 1–100, and >100 was 549, 94, and 24 respectively. For CVD, the NNT5 was 124, 54, and 19. Amongst otherwise JUPITER-eligible patients, presence of CAC was associated with 4.3-fold increased CHD (95% CI 2.0 – 9.3) and 2.6-fold increased CVD (95% CI 1.5–4.5), while hsCRP was not associated with either CHD or CVD after multivariable adjustment.
Within MESA, approximately half of JUPITER-eligible participants had CAC=0 and experienced an extremely low 6-year event rate. Nearly all events occurred in patients with CAC. CAC appears to further risk stratify JUPITER-eligible patients and may be used to target a subgroup of patients expected to derive the most, and the least, absolute benefit from statin treatment. Focusing treatment on the subset of individuals with measurable atherosclerosis may represent a more appropriate allocation of resources.
hsCRP; CAC; and Clinical Events
To assess the independent and collective associations of hepatic steatosis, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome with elevated high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) levels.
Methods and Results
We evaluated 2,388 individuals without clinical cardiovascular disease between December 2004 and December 2006. Hepatic steatosis was diagnosed by ultrasound, and the metabolic syndrome was defined using NHLBI criteria. The cutpoint of ≥ 3 mg/L was used to define “high” hs-CRP. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the independent and collective associations of hepatic steatosis, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome with high hs-CRP. Steatosis was detected in 32% of participants, 23% met criteria for metabolic syndrome, and 17% of individuals were obese. After multivariate regression, hepatic steatosis (OR 2.07; 95% CI: 1.68-2.56), obesity (OR 3.00; 95% CI: 2.39-3.80), and the metabolic syndrome (2.39; 95% CI: 1.88-3.04) were all independently associated with high hs-CRP. Combinations of these factors were associated with an additive increase in the odds of high hs-CRP, with individuals with 1, 2, and 3 factors having ORs for high hs-CRP of 1.92 (1.49-2.48), 3.38 (2.50-4.57) and 4.53 (3.23-6.35), respectively.
Hepatic steatosis, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome are independently and additively associated with increased odds of high hs-CRP levels.
Hepatic Steatosis; Obesity; Metabolic Syndrome; Inflammation; Cytokines
High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels are closely associated with abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The JUPITER trial has encouraged using hsCRP ≥2 mg/L to guide statin therapy; however the association of hsCRP to atherosclerosis, independent of obesity, remains unknown.
Methods and Results
We studied 6,760 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Participants were stratified into 4 groups: non-obese/low hsCRP, non-obese/high hsCRP, obese/low hsCRP, and obese/high hsCRP. Using multivariable logistic and robust linear regression, we described the association with subclinical atherosclerosis, using coronary artery calcium (CAC) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). Mean BMI was 28.3 ± 5.5 kg/m2, and median hsCRP was 1.9 mg/L (0.84 – 4.26). High hsCRP, in the absence of obesity, was not associated with CAC and was mildly associated with cIMT. Obesity was strongly associated with CAC and cIMT independent of hsCRP. When obesity and high hsCRP were both present, there was no evidence of multiplicative interaction. Similar associations were seen among 2,083 JUPITER-eligible individuals.
High hsCRP, as defined by JUPITER, was not associated with CAC and was mildly associated with cIMT in the absence of obesity. In contrast, obesity was associated with both measures of subclinical atherosclerosis independent of hsCRP status.
obesity; hsCRP; high sensitivity C-reactive protein; subclinical atherosclerosis; coronary artery calcium; carotid intima-media thickness
Continuous variable dichotomization is a popular technique used in the estimation of the effect of risk factors on health outcomes in multivariate regression settings. Researchers follow this practice in order to simplify data analysis, which it unquestionably does. However thresholds used to dichotomize those variables are usually ad-hoc, based on expert opinions, or mean, median or quantile splits and can add bias to the effect of the risk factors on specific outcomes and underestimate such effect. In this paper, we suggest the use of a semi-parametric method and visualization for improvement of the threshold selection in variable dichotomization while accounting for mixture distributions in the outcome of interest and adjusting for covariates. For clinicians, these empirically based thresholds of risk factors, if they exist, could be informative in terms of the highest or lowest point of a risk factor beyond which no additional impact on the outcome should be expected.
Generalized additive model; Smearing estimates; Threshold detection; Recycled prediction
Even among asymptomatic people at low risk (<10%) by Framingham Risk Score (FRS), high coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores signify higher predicted risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events. We sought to determine non-invasive factors (without radiation exposure) significantly associated with CAC in low-risk, asymptomatic persons. In a cross-sectional analysis, we studied 3046 participants from MESA at low 10-year predicted risk (FRS <10%) for CHD events. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association of novel markers with presence of any CAC (CAC >0) and advanced CAC (CAC ≥ 300). CAC >0 and CAC ≥ 300 were present in 30% and 3.5% of participants, respectively. Factor VIIIc, fibrinogen and sICAM were each associated with CAC presence (P ≤ 0.02); and C-reactive protein, D-dimer and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with advanced CAC (P ≤ 0.03). The base model combining traditional risk factors had excellent discrimination for advanced CAC (C-statistic, 0.808). Addition of the 2 best-fit models combining biomarkers plus/minus CIMT improved the c-statistics to 0.822 and 0.820, respectively. All 3 models calibrated well, but were similar in estimating individual risk probabilities for advanced CAC (prevalence = 9.97%, 10.63% and 10.10% in the highest quartiles of predicted probabilities versus 0.26%, 0.26% and 0.26% in the lowest quartiles, respectively). In conclusion, in low risk individuals, traditional risk factors alone predicted advanced CAC with high discrimination and calibration. Biomarker combinations +/− CIMT were also significantly associated with advanced CAC, but improvement in prediction and estimation of clinical risk were modest compared to traditional risk factors alone.
coronary calcium; biomarkers; novel markers; low-risk; risk factors
We sought to determine whether insulin resistance predicts the incidence and progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We studied 5,464 participants not on hypoglycemic therapy from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Each had baseline homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and baseline and follow-up CAC scores. Incident CAC was defined as newly detectable CAC; progression was defined as advancing CAC volume score at follow-up.
Median HOMA-IR was 1.2 (0.8–2.0). Across all ethnicities, there was a graded increase in CAC incidence and progression with increasing HOMA-IR. When compared with those in the 1st quartile, participants in the 2nd–4th quartiles had 1.2, 1.5, and 1.8 times greater risk of developing CAC. Median annualized CAC score progression was 8, 14, and 17 higher, respectively. However, HOMA-IR was not predictive after adjustment for metabolic syndrome components.
HOMA-IR predicts CAC incidence and progression, but not independently of metabolic syndrome.
Abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) is a measure of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Data are limited regarding its relation to other measures of atherosclerosis.
Among 1,812 subjects (49% female, 21% black, 14% Chinese, and 25% Hispanic) within the population-based Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, we examined the cross-sectional relation of AAC with coronary artery calcium (CAC), ankle brachial index (ABI), and carotid intimal medial thickness (CIMT), as well as multiple measures of subclinical CVD.
AAC prevalence ranged from 34% in those aged 45–54 to 94% in those aged 75–84 (p<0.0001), was highest in Caucasians (79%) and lowest in blacks (62%) (p<0.0001). CAC prevalence, mean maximum CIMT ≥ 1 mm, and ABI<0.9 was greater in those with vs. without AAC: CAC 60% vs 16%, CIMT 38% vs 7%, and ABI 5% vs 1% for women and CAC 80% vs 37%, CIMT 43% vs 16%, and ABI 4% vs 2% for men (p<0.01 for all except p<0.05 for ABI in men). The presence of multi-site atherosclerosis (≥ 3 of the above) ranged from 20% in women and 30% in men (p<0.001), was highest in Caucasians (28%) and lowest in Chinese (16%) and ranged from 5% in those aged 45–54 to 53% in those aged 75–84 (p<0.01 to p<0.001). Finally, increased AAC was associated with 2 to 3-fold relative risks for the presence of increased CIMT, low ABI, or CAC.
AAC is associated with an increased likelihood of other vascular atherosclerosis. Its additive prognostic value to these other measures is of further interest.
atherosclerosis; calcification; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology
In 2002 the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the American Heart Association recommended aspirin for the primary prevention of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) in individuals with a Framingham risk score ≥ 6% or ≥ 10%, respectively. The regular use of aspirin (≥ 3 days per week) was examined in a cohort of 6452 White, Black, Hispanic, and Chinese individuals without cardiovascular disease in 2000-2002 and 5181 individuals from the same cohort in 2005-2007. Framingham risk scores were stratified into low (< 6%), increased (6% to 9.9%), and high risk (≥ 10%). In 2000-2002 the prevalence of aspirin use was 18% and 27% for those at increased and high risk, respectively. Whites (25%) used aspirin more than Blacks (14%), Hispanics (12%), or Chinese (14%) (P < 0.001) in the increased risk group. Corresponding prevalences for the high risk group were 38%, 25%, 17%, and 21%, respectively (P < 0.001). In 2005-2007 the prevalence of aspirin use was 31% and 44% for those at increased and high risk, respectively. Whites (41%) used aspirin more than Blacks (27%), Hispanics (24%), or Chinese (15%) in the increased risk group (P < 0.001). Corresponding prevalences for the high risk group were 53%, 43%, 38%, and 28%, respectively (P < 0.001). Racial/ethnic differences persisted after adjustment for age, gender, diabetes, income, and education. In conclusion, regular aspirin use in adults at increased and high risk for CHD remains suboptimal. Important racial/ethnic disparities exist for unclear reasons.
Framingham risk score; aspirin; coronary heart disease; race and ethnicity
Mitral annular calcification (MAC) is a fibrous, degenerative calcification of the mitral valve. The relationship between MAC and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors is not well defined. Thus, we performed a cross-sectional study to determine which CVD risk factors are independently associated with MAC in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
MESA includes 6,814 women and men ages 45–84 years old without apparent CVD in 4 ethnic groups (12% Chinese, 38% Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, and 28% African-American). MAC was defined by presence of calcium in the mitral annulus by cardiac computed tomography at enrollment. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate relationships between MAC and CVD risk factors.
The overall prevalence of MAC was 9%. The prevalence of MAC was highest in Caucasians (12%), followed by Hispanics (10%), African Americans (7%) and was lowest in Chinese (5%). Characteristics associated with MAC included age (p<0.01), female gender (p<0.01), increased body mass index (BMI) (p=0.03), and former smoking status (p<0.008). The MAC group had a higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus (DM), and family history of heart attack (all p<0.001). After adjusting for all variables, age, female gender, diabetes mellitus, and increased BMI remained strongly associated with MAC.
Age, female gender, DM, and increased BMI were significantly associated with MAC. Prevalence of MAC was strongly associated with female gender and increasing age in all ethnicities.
Mitral annular calcification; MESA; Cardiac CT; risk factors