Increased Aortic Calcification Is Associated with Arterial Stiffness Progression in Multiethnic Middle-Aged Men

Jingchuan Guo, Akira Fujiyoshi, Bradley Willcox, Jina Choo, Abhishek Vishnu, Takashi Hisamatsu, Vasudha Ahuja, Naoyuki Takashima, Emma Barinas-Mitchell, Aya Kadota, Rhobert W. Evans, Katsuyuki Miura, Daniel Edmundowicz, Kamal Masaki, Chol Shin, Lewis H. Kuller, Hirotsugu Ueshima, Akira Sekikawa and the ERA JUMP Study Group


Arterial stiffness is established as an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The objective was to prospectively evaluate association of aortic calcification burden with progression of arterial stiffness in population-based samples of healthy middle-aged men from ERA JUMP cohort (Electron-Beam Computed Tomography and Risk Factor Assessment in Japanese and US Men in the Post-World War II Birth Cohort). Men (n=635) aged 40 to 49 years (207 white American, 45 black American, 142 Japanese American, and 241 Japanese in Japan) were examined at baseline and 4 to 7 years later. Aortic calcification was evaluated from level of aortic arch to iliac bifurcation. Arterial stiffness progression was measured as annual change in brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. Multivariable-adjusted general linear models were applied to investigate associations of longitudinal change in aortic calcification with arterial stiffness progression in participants overall, as well as in subgroups without or with prevalent aortic calcification at baseline. Annual change in aortic calcification was positively and significantly associated with arterial stiffness progression. In participants with annual changes in aortic calcium score of ≤0, 1 to 10, 11 to 100, and >100, the adjusted means (SD) for the annual change in brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity were 3.8 (2.2), 7.2 (2.2), 12.2 (1.8), and 15.6 (2.6) cm/s, respectively (P for trend <0.01) adjusted for baseline aortic calcification, arterial stiffness, and standard cardiovascular risk factors. Arterial stiffness was associated with the incidence of aortic calcification over the follow-up period among participants without aortic calcification (n=297) and with an increase in aortic calcification among participants with prevalent aortic calcification at baseline (n=388). Our findings suggest aortic calcification may be causally linked to arterial stiffness.

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