Aortic stiffness and calcification in men in a population-based international study

Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Atherosclerosis (Impact Factor: 3.99). 03/2012; 222(2):473-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.03.027
Source: PubMed


Aortic stiffness, a hallmark of vascular aging, is an independent risk factor of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The association of aortic stiffness with aortic calcification in middle-aged general population remains unknown although studies in patients with end-stage renal disease or elderly subjects suggest that aortic calcification is an important determinant of aortic stiffness. The goal of this study was to examine the association of aortic calcification and stiffness in multi-ethnic population-based samples of relatively young men.
We examined the association in 906 men aged 40-49 (81 Black Americans, 276 Japanese Americans, 258 White Americans and 291 Koreans). Aortic stiffness was measured as carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) using an automated waveform analyzer. Aortic calcification from aortic arch to iliac bifurcation was evaluated using electron-beam computed tomography.
Aortic calcium score was calculated and was categorized into four groups: zero (n=303), 1-100 (n=411), 101-300 (n=110), and 401+ (n=82). Aortic calcification category had a significant positive association with cfPWV after adjusting for age, race, and mean arterial pressure (mean (standard error) of cfPWV (cm/s) from the lowest to highest categories: 836 (10), 850 (9), 877 (17) and 941 (19), P for trend <0.001). The significant positive association remained after further adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors. The significant positive association was also observed in each race group.
The results suggest that aortic calcification can be one mechanism for aortic stiffness and that the association of aortic calcification with stiffness starts as early as the 40s.

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    • "VSMCs of adults do not synthesize new elastin but mainly non-elastic collagen resulting in stiffening of the vascular wall (Greenwald, 2007). Closely related to the degradation of ECM, the deposition of calcium minerals further contributes to stiffening and remodeling of vascular tissue (Blaha et al., 2009; Sekikawa et al., 2012). "
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