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Am J Geriatr Cardiol. 2004 May-Jun;13(3):137-51.

Subclinical cardiovascular disease in older adults: insights from the Cardiovascular Health Study.

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Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Knowledge about the epidemiology of subclinical cardiovascular disease (SCVD) in older adults may hold the key for improved opportunities for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a top clinical and public health priority. This review reports findings on the prevalence of SCVD and the ability of SCVD measures to predict incident and adverse outcomes from one of the largest (N=5888) and most comprehensive prospective observational studies on SCVD in older adults, the Cardiovascular Health Study. According to a composite index that combined SCVD measures from different vascular beds, the overall prevalence of SCVD was 37%, making it as common as clinically overt CVD in older adults. SCVD measures strongly predicted incident CVD, stroke, mortality, frailty, and physical and cognitive decline, even after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors. Ongoing research will address the potential use of SCVD for clinical decision making in older adults.

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