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author:("Katz, ronita")
1.  Association Between Coronary Artery Calcification Progression and Microalbuminuria 
JACC. Cardiovascular imaging  2010;3(6):595-604.
This study sought to evaluate the relationship between microalbuminuria (MA) and the development and progression of atherosclerosis, as assessed by incident and progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC).
MA is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but the mechanism by which MA imparts this increased risk is not known.
The MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) study is a prospective cohort study of 6,814 self-identified White, African-American, Hispanic, or Chinese participants free of clinical cardiovascular disease at entry. Of the 6,775 individuals with available urine albumin data, we excluded 97 subjects with macroalbuminuria and 1,023 with missing follow-up CAC data. The final study population consists of 5,666 subjects.
At baseline, individuals with MA were more likely to have CAC >0 compared with those without MA (62% vs. 48%, p < 0.0001). During a mean follow-up of 2.4 ± 0.8 years, those with MA and no CAC at baseline were more likely to develop CAC (relative risk [RR]: 2.05, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.41 to 3.02, p < 0.0001) as compared with those without MA in demographic-adjusted analyses. After multivariant adjustment, the relationship was attenuated but remained statistically significant (RR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.61, p = 0.005). Among those with CAC at baseline, those with versus those without MA had a 15 (95% CI: 8 to 22, p < 0.0001) volume units higher median increase in CAC in demographic-adjusted analyses. After multivariant adjustment, MA remained associated with incident CAC (RR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.61, p = 0.005) and with progression of CAC (median increase in CAC volume score of 9 [95% CI: 2 to 16, p = 0.009]), relative to those without MA.
This large multiethnic, population-based study of asymptomatic individuals demonstrates an increased risk of incident CAC as well as greater CAC progression among those with MA. Further study is needed to determine the degree to which MA precedes and predicts progression of atherosclerosis and how this information can be used to reduce cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC4083743  PMID: 20541715
coronary artery calcium; microalbuminuria; risk prediction; coronary heart disease; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
2.  Hypertension and Low HDL-Cholesterol were Associated with Reduced Kidney Function Across the Age Spectrum: A Collaborative Study 
Annals of epidemiology  2013;23(3):106-111.
To determine if the associations among established risk factors and reduced kidney function vary by age.
We pooled cross-sectional data from 14,788 non-diabetics aged 40–100 years in 4 studies: Cardiovascular Health Study, Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease cohort.
Hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol were associated with reduced cystatin C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) across the age spectrum. In adjusted analyses, hypertension was associated with a 2.3 (95% CI 0.1, 4.4), 5.1 (4.1, 6.1), and 6.9 (3.0, 10.4) mL/min/1.73 m2 lower eGFR in participants 40–59, 60–79, and 80+ years, respectively (p-value for interaction <0.001). The association of low HDL-cholesterol with reduced kidney function was also greater in the older age groups: 4.9 (3.5, 6.3), 7.1 (CI 6.0, 8.3), 8.9 (CI 5.4, 11.9) mL/min/1.73 m2 (p-value for interaction <0.001). Smoking and obesity were associated with reduced kidney function in participants under 80 years. All estimates of the potential population impact of the risk factors were modest.
Hypertension, obesity, smoking, and low HDL-cholesterol are modestly associated with reduced kidney function in non-diabetics. The associations of hypertension and HDL-cholesterol with reduced kidney function appear stronger in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3570601  PMID: 23313266
Chronic kidney insufficiency; aged; hypertension; cholesterol; obesity; smoking
3.  Kidney Function and Mortality in Octogenarians: Cardiovascular Health Study All Stars 
To examine the association between kidney function and all-cause mortality in octogenarians.
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.
Serum creatinine and cystatin C were measured in 1,053 Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) All Stars participants.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was determined using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration creatinine (eGFRCR) and cystatin C one-variable (eGFRCYS) equations. The association between quintiles of kidney function and all-cause mortality was analyzed using unadjusted and adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.
Mean age of the participants was 85, 64% were female, 66% had hypertension, 14% had diabetes mellitus, and 39% had prevalent cardiovascular disease. There were 154 deaths over a median follow-up of 2.6 years. The association between eGFRCR and all-cause mortality was U-shaped. In comparison with the reference quintile (64–75 mL/min per 1.73 m2), the highest (≥75 mL/min per 1.73 m2) and lowest (≤43 mL/min per 1.73 m2) quintiles of eGFRCR were independently associated with mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.36–4.55; HR = 2.28, 95% CI = 1.26–4.10, respectively). The association between eGFRCYS and all-cause mortality was linear in those with eGFRCYS of less than 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2, and in the multivariate analyses, the lowest quintile of eGFRCYS (<52 mL/min per 1.73 m2) was significantly associated with mortality (HR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.12–3.71) compared with the highest quintile (>0.88 mL/min per 1.73 m2).
Moderate reduction in kidney function is a risk factor for all-cause mortality in octogenarians. The association between eGFRCR and all-cause mortality differed from that observed with eGFRCYS; the relationship was U-shaped for eGFRCR, whereas the risk was primarily present in the lowest quintile for eGFRCYS. J Am Geriatr Soc 2012.
PMCID: PMC3902776  PMID: 22724391
octogenarians; kidney function; mortality
4.  Apolipoprotein E and kidney function in older adults 
Clinical nephrology  2012;78(3):174-180.
Previous studies suggest that the ε4 and ε2 alleles of apolipoprotein E (APOE) may be associated with decreased and increased risks of CKD, respectively, but there are limited data in older adults. We evaluated the associations of apolipoprotein E alleles with kidney function among older adults in the cardiovascular health study (CHS).
Caucasian participants had APOE allelic analysis and serum creatinine and cystatin C measured at baseline (n = 3,844 for cross sectional analysis) and in follow up (n = 3,226 for longitudinal analysis). APOE variation was evaluated as an additive model with number of ε2, ε3 and ε4 alleles. GFR was estimated using the CKD epidemiology equation (eGFRcreat) and the cystatin C demographic equation (eGFRcys). The primary outcome was CKD defined by eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2. The secondary outcome was rapid progression defined by annual loss of eGFR > 3 ml/min/1.73 m2.
Mean eGFRcreat was 72 ml/min/1.73 m2 (25% CKD). Compared with the ε3 allele, the APOE ε4 allele was associated with reduced risk of CKD by eGFRcreat: unadjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79 (0.67 – 0.93) per allele, fully adjusted OR (95% CI) 0.80 (0.68 – 0.96) per allele. Results were consistent using eGFRcys. There was no association of the ε2 allele with CKD or between the apolipoprotein E gene with rapid progression.
The apolipoprotein ε4 allele was associated with lower odds of CKD in elderly Caucasian individuals. Future research should confirm these findings in other races and explore mechanisms to explain these results.
PMCID: PMC3874583  PMID: 22874105
apolipoprotein E; chronic kidney disease; kidney function; elderly
5.  Chronic kidney disease and cardiac remodelling in patients with mild heart failure: results from the REsynchronization reVErses Remodeling in Systolic Left vEntricular Dysfunction (REVERSE) study 
European Journal of Heart Failure  2012;14(12):1420-1428.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a risk factor for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and heart failure. We evaluated the effect of CKD on left ventricular (LV) remodelling among patients with mild heart failure.
Methods and results
REVERSE was a randomized, controlled trial evaluating cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) in patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class I/II heart failure. CKD was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2. We compared changes in LV function and size over the course of 12 months by CKD status using linear mixed models adjusted for demographics, co-morbidities, medications, cardiomyopathy aetiology, and CRT status. Finally, we evaluated the effect of CKD on cardiac remodelling among patients randomized to CRT on or off. CKD was associated with worsening LV function and dilation compared with the non-CKD group {adjusted, 12-month β coefficients for the CKD group compared with the non-CKD referent group: LV ejection fraction (%) [–1.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) –3.36 to –0.24], LV end-systolic volume (mL) (14.16, 95% CI 3.96–24.36), LV end-diastolic volume (mL) (14.88, 95% CI 2.88–26.76), LV end-systolic diameter (cm) (0.36, 95% CI 0.12–0.48), LV end-diastolic diameter (cm) (0.24, 95% CI 0.012–0.36), mitral regurgitation (%) (3.12, 95% CI 0.48–5.76), and LV shape (0.036, 95% CI 0.012–0.060)}. In participants assigned to CRT, those without CKD had significantly greater improvements in LV structural parameters compared with the CKD group.
In comparison with participants with normal kidney function, CKD is an independent risk factor for ventricular dysfunction and dilation. CRT improves LV function and structure to a lesser extent in patients with CKD than in those with normal kidney function.
PMCID: PMC3506959  PMID: 22956574
Chronic kidney disease; Heart failure; Cardiac resynchronization therapy
6.  Associations of Urinary Levels of Kidney Injury Molecule-1 (KIM-1) and Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) With Kidney Function Decline in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Whether elevations of urinary biomarkers of tubular injury (urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1)) are associated with future risk of kidney disease has not been investigated.
Study Design
1:1 nested case-control study
Setting & Participants
686 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
NGAL and KIM-1 were measured at baseline and expressed as log-transformed continuous variables and categorized into deciles.
Kidney function was estimated by cystatin C using the CKD-EPI (Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration) equation. Incident CKD Stage 3 was defined as eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73m2 and a eGFR decline >1 ml/min/1.73m2 per year, and rapid kidney function decline (RKFD) was defined as decline of ≥3 ml/min/1.73m2 per year.
Cases were defined as persons with eGFR >60 ml/min/1.73m2 who subsequently developed incident CKD Stage 3 and/or had RKFD by MESA year 5 visit. Controls were matched for age, gender, race, diabetes, and baseline eGFR. We adjusted for age, hypertension and presence of albuminuria (ACR ≥30 mg/g).
Of the 343 cases, 145 had incident CKD Stage 3, 141 had RKFD and 57 had both. Mean eGFR for controls was 81 (±10) ml/min/1.73m2 at baseline and 80 (±10) at follow-up, compared with 82 (±13) and 58 (±10) for cases. Each doubling of KIM-1 (pg/ml) was associated with an OR of 1.15 (95% CI, 1.02-1.29) for incident CKD Stage 3 and/or RKFD. Compared to the lowest 90%, the highest decile of KIM-1 was associated with an OR of 2.02 (95% CI, 1.15-3.56) for the outcome; these associations were independent of albuminuria. NGAL levels (ng/ml) were not associated with incident CKD Stage 3 and/or RKFD (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.99-1.10). Results were similar when KIM-1 and NGAL were standardized for urine creatinine.
The case-control design limits ability to account for persons who died or were not available for follow-up.
Urinary KIM-1 is associated with future risk of kidney disease independent of albuminuria. Urinary biomarkers of tubular injury are a promising tool for identifying persons at risk for CKD.
PMCID: PMC3690926  PMID: 22749388
KIM-1; NGAL; kidney function decline
7.  Relationships Between Serum and Urine Phosphorus with All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality: the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study 
Serum phosphorus is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population but may not comprehensively reflect phosphorus homeostasis. Whether urine phosphorus/creatinine ratio (UPi/UCr, a marker of intestinal absorption) or urine fractional excretion of phosphorus (FePi, a marker of urinary phosphorus handling) is associated with risk of mortality or CVD is uncertain.
Study Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting and Participants
1,325 community-dwelling men aged ≥65 years.
Serum phosphorus, UPi/UCr, and FePi.
All-cause and CVD death.
Mean age was 74±6 years, eGFR was 75±16 ml/min/1.73m2, and serum phosphorus was 3.2±0.4 mg/dL. During 9.3 years median follow-up, there were 364 deaths (120 CVD deaths). After adjustment for demographics, CVD risk factors, and kidney function, the risks of all-cause death in the highest quartiles of serum phosphorus (≥3.6 mg/dL), UPi/UCr, and FePi were 1.63 (95% CI 1.23-2.17), 1.22 (95% CI 0.90-1.65), and 0.88 (95% CI 0.64-1.23), respectively. Results were similar for CVD death. Results were also similar irrespective of eGFR above or below 60 ml/min/1.73m2.
Older, all male cohort. Few had advanced CKD. Specimens were collected in the morning after an overnight fast.
In community-living older men, higher serum phosphorus is associated with all-cause and CVD death. In contrast, UPi/UCr and FePi were not. These findings do not support using UPi/UCr or FePi as adjuvant measures to predict risk of mortality or CVD in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3815620  PMID: 23261120
Phosphorus; urine phosphorus; mortality; cardiovascular disease; kidney disease; geriatrics
8.  Associations of Socioeconomic Status and Processed Food Intake with Serum Phosphorus in Community-Living Adults: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Higher serum phosphorus concentrations are associated with cardiovascular disease events and mortality. Low socioeconomic status is linked with higher serum phosphorus, but the reasons are unclear. Poor individuals disproportionately consume inexpensive processed foods commonly enriched with phosphorus-based food preservatives. Accordingly, we hypothesized that excess intake of these foods accounts for a relationship between lower socioeconomic status and higher serum phosphorus.
Cross-sectional analysis.
Setting and Participants
We examined a random cohort of 2,664 participants with available phosphorus measurements in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a community-based sample of individuals free of clinically apparent cardiovascular disease from across the United States.
Predictor Variables
Socioeconomic status, the intake of foods commonly enriched with phosphorus additives (processed meats, sodas) and frequency of fast food consumption.
Fasting morning serum phosphorus concentrations.
In unadjusted analyses, lower income and lower educational achievement categories were associated with modestly higher serum phosphorus (by 0.02 to 0.10 mg/dL, P < 0.05 for all). These associations were attenuated in models adjusted for demographic and clinical factors, almost entirely due to adjustment for female gender. There were no statistically significant associations of processed meat intake or frequency of fast-food consumption with serum phosphorus in multivariable-adjusted analyses. In contrast, each serving per day higher soda intake was associated with 0.02 mg/dl lower serum phosphorus (95% confidence interval, −0.04, −0.01).
Greater intake of foods commonly enriched with phosphorus additives was not associated with higher serum phosphorus in a community-living sample with largely preserved kidney function. These results suggest that excess intake of processed and fast foods may not impact fasting serum phosphorus concentrations among individuals without kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3321388  PMID: 22217539
phosphorus; socioeconomic status; nutrition
9.  Inflammation and Coagulation Markers and Kidney Function Decline: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
The strength and direction of the associations between inflammation and coagulation biomarkers with kidney disease onset and progression remains unclear, especially in a population-based setting.
Study Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting & Participants
4,966 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) with a cystatin C-based estimate of glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys) > 60 ml/min/1.73m2 and least one follow-up measure of kidney function. All participants were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at entry.
We evaluated the associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), fibrinogen, factor VIII, and D-dimer with kidney function decline.
Outcomes and Measurements
Kidney function decline was assessed primarily by repeated measures of eGFRcys over 5 years. Rapid decline of kidney function was defined as an eGFR decrease of more than 3 ml/min/1.73m2 per year. Incident low eGFR was defined as the onset of eGFRcys<60 ml/min/1.73m2 at any follow up exam and eGFRcys decline ≥1 ml/min/1.73m2 per year.
Mean age was 60 years, 39% were white, 52% were women, and 11% had diabetes. Mean eGFRcys was 96 mL/min/1.73 m2 and 7% had albuminuria. Median follow up time was 4.77 years. Higher Factor VIII levels (per 1-standard deviation [SD] of biomarker) had the strongest association with kidney function decline (β= −0.25; 95% CI, −0.38 to −0.12; p<0.001), followed by IL-6 (β= −0.16; 95% CI, −0.29 to −0.03; p=0.01), CRP (β= −0.09; 95% CI, −0.22 to 0.03; p=0.1), and fibrinogen (β= −0.09; 95% CI, −0.22 to 0.04; p=0.2). Each 1-SD higher concentration of IL-6 (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.07–1.23), Factor VIII (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.03–1.18), and CRP (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02–1.16) at baseline was significantly associated with rapid kidney function decline. Only IL-6 was significantly associated with incident low eGFR (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.00–1.19).
Observational study design and absence of measured GFR.
Inflammation and coagulation biomarkers are associated with declining kidney function in ambulatory adults without established CVD or CKD.
PMCID: PMC3745301  PMID: 22560844
10.  Fibroblast Growth Factor-23 and Death, Heart Failure, and Cardiovascular Events in Community-Living Individuals: the Cardiovascular Health Study 
To determine the associations of FGF23 with death, HF, and CVD and investigate the influence of CKD in a general community-living population.
FGF23 increases renal phosphorus excretion and inhibits vitamin D activation. In ESRD, high FGF23 levels are associated with mortality. The associations of FGF23 with death, heart failure (HF), and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in teh general population are unknown.
Plasma FGF23 was measured in 3,107 community-living persons ≥ 65 years in 1996–97, and participants were followed through 2008. HF and CVD events were adjudicated by a panel of experts. Associations of FGF23 with each outcome were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models, and we tested whether associations differed by CKD status.
Both lower eGFR and higher urine ACR were associated with high FGF23 at baseline. During 10.5 years (median) follow-up, there were 1,730 deaths, 697 incident HF events, and 797 incident CVD events. Although high FGF23 concentrations were associated with each outcome in combined analyses, the associations were consistently stronger for those with CKD (P interactions all < 0.006). In the CKD group (n=1,128), the highest FGF23 quartile had adjusted hazards ratios (HR) of 1.87 (1.47, 2.38) for all-cause death, 1.94 (1.32, 2.83) for incident HF, and 1.49 (1.02, 2.18) for incident CVD events compared to the lowest quartile. Corresponding HRs in those without CKD (n=1,979) were 1.29 (1.05, 1.59), 1.37 (0.99, 1.89), and 1.07 (0.79, 1.45).
FGF23, a hormone involved in phosphorous and vitamin D homeostasis, is independently associated with all-cause death and incident HF in community-living older persons. These associations appear stronger in persons with CKD.
PMCID: PMC3396791  PMID: 22703926
Fibroblast growth factor-23; kidney disease; mineral metabolism; cardiovascular disease; heart failure; elderly
11.  Computed Tomography Scans in the Evaluation of Fatty Liver Disease in a Population Based Study: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Academic Radiology  2012;19(7):811-818.
Rationale and Objectives
Fatty liver disease is a common clinical entity in hepatology practice. This study evaluates the prevalence and reproducibility of computed tomography (CT) measures for diagnosis of fatty liver and compares commonly used CT criteria for the diagnosis of liver fat.
Materials and Methods
The study includes 6,814 asymptomatic participants from a population based sample. The ratio of liver-to-spleen (L/S) Hounsfield units (HU) <1.0 and liver attenuation <40HU were utilized for diagnosing and assessing the severity of liver fat content. Participants with heavy alcohol intake (>7 drinks/week for women and >14 drinks/week for men) were excluded. Final analysis was performed on participants where images of both liver and spleen were available on the scans.
The overall prevalence of fatty liver (4,175 patients) was 17.2% (using L/S ratio <1.0), with 6.3% (with <40HU cutoff) of the population having moderate to severe steatosis (>30% liver fat content). The prevalence was high in participants with dyslipidemia (70.4%), hypertension (56.8%) and obesity (53%). Diabetic patients had 24.1% prevalence of fatty liver. The prevalence provided by L/S ratio <1.0 (17.2%) was comparable to prevalence provided by <51 HU (17.3%), whereas prevalence obtained by <40HU (6.3%) cutoff corresponded to L/S ratio of <0.8 (6.5%). The measurements of liver and spleen HU attenuations were highly reproducible (0.96, 0.99 and 0.99, 0.99 for intra- and inter-reader variability, respectively) in a sample of 100 scans.
Fatty liver can be reliably diagnosed using non-enhanced CT scans.
PMCID: PMC3377794  PMID: 22521729
Computed Tomography; Fatty Liver; MESA
12.  Insulin Resistance, Cystatin C, and Mortality Among Older Adults 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(6):1355-1360.
Insulin resistance is a risk factor for cardiovascular and noncardiovascular diseases. Impaired kidney function is linked with insulin resistance and may affect relationships of insulin resistance with health outcomes.
We performed a cohort study of 3,138 Cardiovascular Health Study participants (age ≥65 years) without diabetes. Insulin sensitivity index (ISI) was calculated from fasting and 2-h postload insulin and glucose concentrations. Associations of ISI and fasting insulin concentration with all-cause mortality were tested using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for demographic variables, prevalent cardiovascular disease, lifestyle variables, waist circumference, and LDL cholesterol. Subsequent models were additionally adjusted for or stratified by glomerular filtration rate estimated using serum cystatin C (eGFR).
A total of 1,810 participants died during the 14.7-year median follow-up. Compared with the highest quartile of ISI, the lowest quartile (most insulin resistant) was associated with 21% (95% CI 6–41) and 11% (−3 to 29) higher risks of death without and with adjustment for eGFR, respectively. Compared with the lowest quartile of fasting insulin concentration, the highest quartile was associated with 22% (4–43) and 4% (−12 to 22) higher risks of death without and with adjustment for eGFR, respectively. Similar attenuation by eGFR was observed when blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein were included in models.
Insulin resistance measured as ISI or fasting insulin concentration is associated with increased risk of death among older adults, adjusting for conventional confounding characteristics. Impaired kidney function may mediate or confound this relationship.
PMCID: PMC3357240  PMID: 22432118
13.  Aortic Valve Calcium Independently Predicts Coronary and Cardiovascular Events in a Primary Prevention Population 
Jacc. Cardiovascular Imaging  2012;5(6):619-625.
This study aimed to test whether aortic valve calcium (AVC) is independently associated with coronary and cardiovascular events in a primary-prevention population.
Aortic sclerosis is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among the elderly, but the mechanisms underlying this association remain controversial and it is unknown if this association extends to younger individuals.
We performed a prospective analysis of 6,685 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. All subjects, aged 45-84 years and free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline, underwent computed tomography for AVC and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring. The primary, pre-specified combined endpoint of cardiovascular events included myocardial infarctions, fatal and non-fatal strokes, resuscitated cardiac arrest and cardiovascular death, while a secondary combined endpoint of coronary events excluded strokes. The association between AVC and clinical events was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression with incremental adjustments for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, inflammatory biomarkers and subclinical coronary atherosclerosis.
Over a median follow up of 5.8 [IQR 5.6, 5.9] years, adjusting for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors, subjects with AVC (n=894, 13.4%) had higher risks of cardiovascular (HR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.10-2.03) and coronary (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.19-2.49) events compared to those without AVC. Adjustments for inflammatory biomarkers did not alter these associations, but adjustment for CAC substantially attenuated both cardiovascular (HR, 1.32; 95% CI: 0.98-1.78) and coronary (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.98-2.02) event risk. AVC remained predictive of cardiovascular mortality even after full adjustment (HR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.22-5.21).
In this multiethnic MESA cohort, free of clinical cardiovascular disease, AVC predicts cardiovascular and coronary event risk independent of traditional risk factors and inflammatory biomarkers, likely due to the strong correlation between AVC and subclinical atherosclerosis. The association of AVC with excess cardiovascular mortality beyond coronary atherosclerosis risk merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3376353  PMID: 22698532
14.  The Risk of Infection-Related Hospitalization With Decreased Kidney Function 
Moderate kidney disease may predispose to infection. We sought to determine whether decreased kidney function, as estimated by serum cystatin C, was associated with the risk of infection-related hospitalization in older individuals.
Study Design
Cohort Study.
Setting & Participants
5,142 Cardiovascular Health Study participants with measured serum creatinine and cystatin C and without eGFR <15 ml/min/1.73 m2 at enrollment.
The primary exposure of interest was estimated glomerular filtration rate using serum cystatin C (eGFRSCysC).
Infection-related hospitalizations during a median follow-up of 11.5 years.
In adjusted analyses, eGFRSCysC categories of 60–89, 45–59, and 15–44 ml/min/1.73 m2 were associated with 16%, 37%, and 64% greater risk of all-cause infection-related hospitalization, respectively, compared with an eGFRSCysC ≥90 ml/min/1.73 m2. When cause specific infection was examined, an eGFRSCysC of 15–44 ml/min/1.73 m2 was associated with an 80% greater risk of pulmonary and 160% greater risk of genitourinary infection compared with an eGFRSCysC ≥90 ml/min/1.73 m2.
No measures of urinary protein, study limited to principal discharge diagnosis.
Lower kidney function, estimated using cystatin C, was associated with a linear and graded risk of infection-related hospitalization. These findings highlight that even moderate degrees of reduced kidney function are associated with clinically significant higher risks of serious infection in older individuals.
PMCID: PMC3288732  PMID: 21906862
renal disease; chronic kidney disease; infection; clinical epidemiology
15.  Association of Pulse Pressure, Arterial Elasticity, and Endothelial Function With Kidney Function Decline Among Adults With Estimated GFR > 60 mL/min/1.73 m2: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
The association of subclinical vascular disease and early declines in kidney function has not been well studied.
Study Design
Prospective cohort study
Setting & Participants
MESA participants with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73m2 with follow-up of 5 years
Pulse pressure (pulse pressure), small and large arterial elasticity (SAE, LAE), and flow mediated dilation.
kidney function decline
SAE and LAE were measured by pulse contour analysis of the radial artery. Kidney function was measured by serum creatinine- and cystatin C-based eGFR.
Among 4,853 adults, higher pulse pressure and lower SAE and LAE had independent and linear associations with faster rates of kidney function decline. Compared to persons with pulse pressure 40–50mmHg, eGFRSCysC decline was 0.29 (p=0.006), 0.56 (p<0.001), and 0.91 (p<0.001) ml/min/1.73m2/year faster among persons with pulse pressure 50–60, 60–70, and >70mmHg, respectively. Compared to the highest quartile of SAE (most elastic), eGFRSCysC decline was 0.26 (p=0.009), 0.35 (p=0.001), and 0.70 (p<0.001) ml/min/1.73m2/year faster for the second, third and fourth quartiles respectively. For LAE, compared to the highest quartile, eGFRSCysC decline was 0.28 (p=0.004), 0.58 (p<0.001), and 0.83 (p<0.001) ml/min/1.73m2/year faster for each decreasing quartile of LAE. Findings were similar with creatinine-based eGFR. In contrast, among 2,997 adults with flow-mediated dilation and kidney function measures, flow-mediated dilation was not significantly associated with kidney function decline. For every 1-SD greater flow-mediated dilation, eGFRSCysC and eGFRSCr changed by 0.05 ml/min/1.73m2/year (p=0.3) and 0.06 ml/min/1.73m2/year (p=0.04), respectively.
We had no direct measure of GFR, in common with nearly all large population based studies.
Higher pulse pressure and lower arterial elasticity, but not flow-mediated dilation, were linearly and independently associated with faster kidney function decline among persons with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73m2. Future studies investigate whether treatments to lower stiffness of large and small arteries may slow the rate of kidney function loss.
PMCID: PMC3242889  PMID: 22000727
kidney function; arterial elasticity; chronic kidney disease; atherosclerosis
16.  Kidney Function Decline in the Elderly: Impact of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;34(6):512-518.
Background: Whether lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) levels are associated with kidney function decline has not been well studied. Methods: We investigated associations of Lp-PLA2 antigen and activity with kidney function decline and rapid decline over 5.7 years in the Cardiovascular Health Study (n = 4,359). We estimated kidney function by cystatin C (eGFRcys) in repeated measures, and defined rapid decline as ≥3 ml/min/1.73 m2 per year. We stratified by baseline preserved GFR (≥60 ml/min/1.73 m2). Results: Mean age was 72 ± 5 years. Average eGFRcys decline was −1.79 ml/min/1.73 m2 (SD = 2.60) per year. Among persons with preserved GFR, compared to the lowest quartile of Lp-PLA2 antigen, eGFRcys decline was faster among persons in the second, β −0.31 (95% CI −0.52, −0.10), third −0.19 (–0.41, 0.02) and fourth quartiles −0.26 (–0.48, −0.04) after full adjustment. Persons in the highest quartile of Lp-PLA2 antigen had increased odds of rapid decline 1.34 (1.03, 1.75), compared to the lowest. There was no significant association between levels of Lp-PLA2 activity and eGFRcys decline or rapid decline. Associations were not statistically significant among persons with low eGFR (<60 ml/min/1.73 m2) at baseline. Conclusion: Higher levels of Lp-PLA2 antigen but not activity were significantly associated with faster rates of kidney function decline. These findings may suggest a novel vascular pathway for kidney disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3225232  PMID: 22056971
Chronic kidney disease; Elderly; Estimated GFR; Kidney decline; Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2
17.  Vitamin D, Parathyroid Hormone and Sudden Cardiac Death: Results from the Cardiovascular Health Study 
Hypertension  2011;58(6):1021-1028.
Recent studies have demonstrated greater risks of cardiovascular events and mortality among persons who have lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) and higher parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. We sought to evaluate the association between markers of mineral metabolism and sudden cardiac death (SCD) among the 2,312 participants from the Cardiovascular Health Study who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline. We estimated associations of baseline 25-OHD and PTH concentrations individually and in combination with SCD using Cox proportional hazards models after adjustment for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, and kidney function. During a median follow-up of 14 years, there were 73 adjudicated SCD events. The annual incidence of SCD was greater among subjects who had lower 25-OHD concentrations: 2 events per 10,000 for 25-OHD ≥ 20 ng/ml and 4 events per 10,000 for 25-OHD < 20 ng/ml. Similarly, SCD incidence was greater among subjects who had higher PTH concentrations: 2 events per 10,000 for PTH ≤ 65 pg/ml and 4 events per 10,000 for PTH > 65 pg/ml. Multivariate adjustment attenuated associations of 25-OHD and PTH with SCD. Finally, 267 participants (11.7% of the cohort) had high PTH and low 25-OHD concentrations. This combination was associated with a more than 2-fold risk of SCD after adjustment (hazard ratio 2.19, 95% confidence interval 1.17, 4.10, p=0.017) compared to participants with normal levels of PTH and 25-OHD. The combination of lower 25-OHD and higher PTH concentrations appears to be associated independently with SCD risk among older adults without cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3337033  PMID: 22068871
Sudden cardiac death; Vitamin D; Parathyroid hormone; Elderly; Risk Factors
18.  Impact of Subclinical Atherosclerosis on Cardiovascular Disease Events in Individuals With Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(10):2285-2290.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3177707  PMID: 21844289
19.  The Relationship of Insulin Resistance and Extracoronary Calcification in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2011;218(2):507-510.
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.
PMCID: PMC3185155  PMID: 21798541
cardiovascular calcification; insulin resistance; atherosclerosis; metabolic syndrome; computed tomography; valvular calcification; thoracic aortic calcification
Vitamin D deficiency and parathyroid hormone (PTH) excess are common among older adults and may adversely impact cardiovascular health. We evaluated associations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) and PTH concentrations, separately, and in combination, with incident cardiovascular events and mortality during 14 years of follow-up in the Cardiovascular Health Study.
Methods and results
We studied 2,312 participants who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline. We measured 25-OHD and intact PTH from previously frozen serum using mass spectrometry and a two-site immunoassay. Outcomes were adjudicated cases of myocardial infarction, heart failure, cardiovascular death, and all cause mortality. There were 384 participants (17%) who had serum 25-OHD concentrations <15 ng/ml and 570 (25%) who had serum PTH concentrations ≥ 65 pg/ml. After adjustment, each 10-ng/ml lower 25-OHD concentration was associated with a 9% greater (95% CI 2% to 17% greater) relative hazard of mortality and a 25% greater (95% CI 8% to 44% greater) relative hazard of myocardial infarction. Serum 25-OHD concentrations <15 ng/ml, were associated with a 29% greater (95% CI 5% to 55% greater) risk of mortality. Serum PTH concentrations ≥ 65 pg/ml were associated with a 30% greater risk of heart failure (95% CI 6% to 61% greater), but not other outcomes. There was no evidence of an interaction between serum 25-OHD and PTH concentrations and cardiovascular events.
Among older adults, 25-OHD deficiency is associated with myocardial infarction and mortality; PTH excess is associated with heart failure. Vitamin D and PTH might influence cardiovascular risk through divergent pathways.
PMCID: PMC3210558  PMID: 21939825
Vitamin D; parathyroid hormone; myocardial infarction; cardiovascular death; heart failure; mortality; mineral metabolism
21.  Antihypertensive Medication Use and Change in Kidney Function in Elderly Adults: A Marginal Structural Model Analysis 
The evidence for the effectiveness of antihypertensive medication use for slowing decline in kidney function in older persons is sparse. We addressed this research question by the application of novel methods in a marginal structural model.
Change in kidney function was measured by two or more measures of cystatin C in 1,576 hypertensive participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study over 7 years of follow-up (1989–1997 in four U.S. communities). The exposure of interest was antihypertensive medication use. We used a novel estimator in a marginal structural model to account for bias due to confounding and informative censoring.
The mean annual decline in eGFR was 2.41 ± 4.91 mL/min/1.73 m2. In unadjusted analysis, antihypertensive medication use was not associated with annual change in kidney function. Traditional multivariable regression did not substantially change these estimates. Based on a marginal structural analysis, persons on antihypertensives had slower declines in kidney function; participants had an estimated 0.88 (0.13, 1.63) ml/min/1.73 m2 per year slower decline in eGFR compared with persons on no treatment. In a model that also accounted for bias due to informative censoring, the estimate for the treatment effect was 2.23 (−0.13, 4.59) ml/min/1.73 m2 per year slower decline in eGFR.
In summary, estimates from a marginal structural model suggested that antihypertensive therapy was associated with preserved kidney function in hypertensive elderly adults. Confirmatory studies may provide power to determine the strength and validity of the findings.
PMCID: PMC3204667  PMID: 22049266
aged; kidney function; hypertension; marginal structural model
22.  Association of Serum Phosphate Levels with Aortic Valve Sclerosis and Annular Calcification: the Cardiovascular Health Study 
To evaluate mineral metabolism markers as potential risk factors for calcific aortic valve disease.
Mineral metabolism disturbances are common among older people and may contribute to cardiac valvular calcification. Associations of serum mineral metabolism markers with cardiac valvular calcification have not been evaluated in a well-characterized general population of older adults.
We measured serum levels of phosphate, calcium, parathyroid hormone, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 1,938 Cardiovascular Health Study participants who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease and who underwent echocardiography measurements of aortic valve sclerosis (AVS), mitral annular calcification (MAC), and aortic annular calcification (AAC). We used logistic regression models to estimate associations of mineral metabolism markers with AVS, MAC, and AAC after adjustment for relevant confounding variables, including kidney function.
The respective prevalences of AVS, MAC, and AAC were 54%, 39%, and 44%. Each 0.5 mg/dl higher serum phosphate concentration was associated with a greater adjusted odds of AVS (odds ratio 1.17, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.31, p = 0.01), MAC (odds ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.26, p =0.05), and AAC (odds ratio 1.12, 95% confidence interval 0.99 to 1.25, p = 0.05). In contrast, serum calcium, parathyroid hormone, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were not associated with aortic or mitral calcification.
Higher serum phosphate levels within the normal range are associated with valvular and annular calcification in a community-based cohort of older adults. Phosphate may be a novel risk factor for calcific aortic valve disease and warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC3147295  PMID: 21737022
Phosphate; Aortic Valve; Mitral Valve; Calcification; Epidemiology
23.  Cystatin C and Albuminuria as Risk Factors for Development of CKD Stage 3: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
The growing burden and morbidity of chronic kidney disease (CKD) warrant effective strategies for identifying those at increased risk. We examined the association of cystatin C and albuminuria with development of CKD stage 3.
Study Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting and Participants
5,422 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥ 60 ml/min/1.73m2.
Participants were categorized into four mutually exclusive groups: presence or absence of microalbuminuria (albumin-creatinine ratio >17 and > 25 µg/mg in men and women, respectively) in those with or without cystatin C ≥ 1.0 mg/L.
Outcomes and Measurements
Incident CKD stage 3 was defined as eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73m2 at the 3rd or 4th visit and an annual decline of > 1 ml/min/1.73 m2. Poisson regression was used to evaluate incident rate ratios in unadjusted and adjusted analyses that include baseline eGFR.
Mean age was 61 years, 49% were men, 38% white, 11% had diabetes, 13.7% had cystatin C ≥ 1mg/L, 8.4% had microalbuminuria, and 2.7 % had cystatin C ≥ 1 mg/L with microalbuminuria. 554 (10%) participants developed CKD stage 3 over a median follow-up of 4.7 years and the adjusted incidence rate ratios (95% CI) were 1.57 (1.19–2.07), 1.37 (1.13–1.66), and 2.12 (1.61–2.80) in those with microalbuminuria, cystatin C ≥ 1 mg/L, and both, respectively, compared to those with neither.
Relatively short follow up and absence of measured GFR.
Cystatin C and microalbuminuria are independent risk factors for incident CKD stage 3 and could be useful as screening tools to identify those at increased risk.
PMCID: PMC3090544  PMID: 21296473
24.  Stages of Systemic Hypertension and Blood Pressure as Correlates of Computed Tomography-Assessed Aortic Valve Calcium (From the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) 
Hypertension has been identified as a risk factor for aortic valve calcium (AVC) but the magnitude of the risk relation with hypertension severity or whether age affects the strength of this risk association has not been studied. The relationship of hypertension severity, as defined by JNC-7 hypertension stages or blood pressure (BP), to CT-assessed AVC prevalence and severity was examined in 4,274 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) without treated hypertension. Analyses were stratified by age < or ≥ 65 years, were adjusted for common cardiovascular risk factors, and excluded those on antihypertensive medications. In age-stratified, adjusted analyses, Stage I/II hypertension was associated with prevalent AVC in those <65 but not in those ≥65 years of age [OR (95% CI): 2.31 (1.35, 3.94) vs. 1.33 (0.96, 1.85), P-interaction = 0.041]. Similarly, systolic BP and pulse pressure (PP) were more strongly associated with prevalent AVC in those <65 than those ≥65 years of age [OR (95% CI): 1.21 (1.08, 1.35) vs. 1.07 (1.01, 1.14) per 10 mmHg increase in systolic BP, Pinteraction = 0.006] and [OR (95% CI): 1.41 (1.21, 1.64) vs. 1.14 (1.05, 1.23) per 10 mmHg increase in PP]. No associations were found between either hypertension stage or BP and AVC severity. In conclusion, stage I/II hypertension, as well as higher systolic pressure and pulse pressure were associated with prevalent AVC. These risk associations were strongest in participants younger than age 65 years.
PMCID: PMC3032359  PMID: 21146685
Blood Pressure; Aortic Valve; Calcification
25.  Relationships of Mitral Annular Calcification to Cardiovascular Risk Factors: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Atherosclerosis  2010;213(2):558-562.
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.
PMCID: PMC2997868  PMID: 20926076
Mitral annular calcification; MESA; Cardiac CT; risk factors

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