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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Jan;28(1):155-9. Epub 2007 Nov 8.

Differential impact of age, sex, and hypertension on aortic atherosclerosis: the Framingham Heart Study.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine (Cardiovascular Division), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of age, sex, and hypertension (HTN) on aortic atherosclerotic burden using cardiovascular MRI (CMR) in a free-living longitudinally followed cohort.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

1763 participants (829 M and 934 F; 38 to 88 years of age) of the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort underwent CMR of the thoracoabdominal aorta using an ECG-gated 2D T2-weighted black-blood sequence. Of these, 1726 subjects (96%) with interpretable CMR were characterized by sex, age-quartile, and presence or absence of HTN and clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Aortic plaque prevalence and volume increased with increasing age in both sexes. For the nonhypertensive (no-HTN) group, plaque was identified in 702 (46%) with greater prevalence in women than in men (P<0.006). HTN was associated with greater aortic plaque burden (P<0.02). The 200 subjects with clinical CVD had greater plaque burden than subjects without CVD (P<0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

In this free-living longitudinally followed cohort, subclinical aortic atherosclerosis was seen in nearly half of subjects and increased with advancing age. HTN was associated with increased aortic plaque burden. Among no-HTN subjects, women had greater plaque burden than men. These data suggest that subclinical atherosclerosis is more common in no-HTN women and emphasize the importance of focusing on preventive measures in both sexes.

PMID:
17991874
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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