Non-invasively measured structural and functional arterial characteristics and coronary heart disease risk in middle aged and elderly men



      In cardiovascular (CV) epidemiology, interest increases in studying etiologic and prognostic implications of early structural or functional changes of the large arteries. Examples of such measurements are pulse wave velocity (PWV), carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and augmentation index (AIx). PWV and CIMT are established markers of CV risk whereas the role of AIx as indicator of risk has not fully been established. Therefore, our aim was to relate AIx to CV risk and to compare the magnitude of relations of PWV, CIMT and AIx to CV risk.


      Two hundred and ninty-nine men free from cardiovascular disease (mean age 59.2 years), participated in this cross-sectional study. Cardiovascular risk profile was determined and 10-year coronary heart disease risk was estimated using the Framingham risk score (FRS). PWV, CIMT and AIx were measured and data were analyzed using linear regression models.


      PWV and CIMT were strongest related to FRS whereas AIx showed the weakest relation. Ten-year coronary heart disease risk increased 6.24%, 95% confidence interval (CI) [5.11;7.37] per standard deviation (S.D.) increase in PWV, 6.39% [5.24;7.54] per S.D. increase in CIMT and 2.50% [1.19;3.80] per S.D. increase in AIx.


      In middle aged and elderly men AIx is related to CV risk. However, compared with AIx, PWV and CIMT seem better markers of cardiovascular risk.


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