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Atherosclerosis. 2007 Oct;194(2):426-32. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Carotid artery plaque thickness is associated with increased serum calcium levels: the Northern Manhattan study.

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1
Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, PH8W-864, 630 W. 168th St., New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Elevated serum calcium concentrations are associated with vascular calcification and cardiovascular disease. It is unknown whether there is a relationship between high-normal serum calcium levels and sub-clinical vascular effects. We investigated the association between serum calcium and carotid plaque thickness, a powerful early predictor of clinical coronary and cerebrovascular events.

METHODS:

Epidemiological study of 1194 subjects from the Northern Manhattan Study cohort, a prospective community-based study designed to investigate risk factors for vascular disease in different race-ethnic groups.

RESULTS:

Subjects with carotid plaque had higher corrected serum calcium levels within the normal range than those without carotid plaque (2.21+/-0.09 mmol/L versus 2.19+/-0.09 mmol/L, p<0.002). The relationship between carotid plaque and serum calcium persisted after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Subjects in the top quintile of maximal carotid plaque thickness (>or=1.7 mm) were more likely to be in the highest quintile of serum calcium level (OR=1.64, 95% CI=1.17-2.29, p<0.004). The interaction of age and corrected serum calcium was the most significant predictor of carotid plaque thickness when traditional vascular risk factors were considered (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Serum calcium levels in a multi-ethnic population of older men and women were positively associated with carotid plaque thickness, a powerful early predictor of clinical coronary and cerebrovascular events.

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