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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Mar;27(3):642-8. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Aortic valve calcification: determinants and progression in the population.

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1
Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Aortic valve calcification (AVC) is considered degenerative. Recent data suggested links to atherosclerosis or coronary disease (CAD).

METHODS AND RESULTS:

AVC and coronary artery calcifications (CAC) were prospectively assessed by Electron-Beam-Computed-Tomography in 262 population-based research participants > or = 60 years. AVC was frequent (27%) with aging (P<0.01) and in men (P<0.05). AVC was associated with diabetes, hypertension, higher body-mass-index, and serum glucose (all P<0.05). AVC was a marker of higher prevalence (P<0.01) and severity of CAD (CAC score: 441+/-802 versus 265+/-566, P<0.05) independently of age. After follow-up of 3.8+/-0.9 years, AVC score increased (94+/-271 versus 54+/-173, P<0.01, +11+/-32 U/year), faster with higher baseline AVC score (P<0.01). Compared with participants remaining free of AVC, de novo acquisition of AVC was associated with higher LDL-cholesterol (141+/-31 versus 121+/-27 mg/dL, P<0.05) and faster CAC progression (+78+/-87 versus +28+/-47 U/year, P<0.05). In multivariate analysis, LDL-cholesterol independently determined AVC acquisition while higher baseline AVC scores determined faster progression of existing AVC.

CONCLUSION:

In the population, AVC is frequent with aging and atherosclerotic risk factors. AVC is a marker of subclinical CAD. AVC is progressive, appearing de novo with progressive atherosclerosis whereas established AVC progresses independently of atherosclerotic risk factors and faster with increasing initial AVC loads.

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