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Coron Artery Dis. 2009 Jan;20(1):15-20. doi: 10.1097/MCA.0b013e3283109065.

Markers of inflammation are strong predictors of subclinical and clinical atherosclerosis in women with hypertension.

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Department of Clinical Medicine and Emerging Diseases, University Hospital P. Giaccone, Palermo, Italy.


Cardiovascular diseases in women still rises and remains their leading cause of death in most developed countries; yet we have less sex-specific data in women than in men as a result of lower enrollment in clinical trials and low rates of sex-specific reporting. The aim of our study was to evaluate in hypertensive postmenopausal women the potential predictive role of markers of inflammation, for example, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein (CRP), on subclinical and clinical atherosclerosis, beyond that of the other established cardiovascular risk factors. We studied 127 asymptomatic hypertensive postmenopausal women with different degrees of carotid intima-media thickness, as examined by the eco-color-doppler ultrasonography, evaluating in a 5 years follow-up cerebrovascular and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We preliminarily found that both fibrinogen and CRP levels were associated with the extension of carotid atherosclerosis (P<0.0001 and P=0.0445, respectively). We also found that among all established traditional cardiovascular risk factors (including obesity, diabetes, smoking habit, family history of coronary artery disease, dyslipidemia) only older age (P=0.0162), elevated fibrinogen (P=0.0298), and CRP (P=0.0345) were independent predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis. At the end of follow-up patients clinical events were registered in the 24% of patients and multivariate analysis revealed the following predictors of events: elevated CRP levels [odds ratio (OR): 12.6], the presence of family history of coronary artery disease(OR: 8.8) and older age (OR: 1.1). Beyond the utility of CRP and fibrinogen levels in the prediction of subclinical and clinical atherosclerosis, the therapeutic implications of these results remain to be evaluated by further studies.

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