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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Sep 21;56(13):1034-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.01.073.

Association of combinations of lipid parameters with carotid intima-media thickness and coronary artery calcium in the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis).

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98104, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the association of combinations of lipid parameters with subclinical atherosclerosis.


Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) are significantly associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD). The association between common dyslipidemias (combined hyperlipidemia, [simple] hypercholesterolemia, dyslipidemia of metabolic syndrome, isolated low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and isolated hypertriglyceridemia) compared with normolipemia, and CIMT and CAC has not been previously examined.


The MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) participants were White, Chinese, African-American, or Hispanic adults without clinical CVD. Subjects with diabetes mellitus or who were receiving lipid-lowering therapy were excluded. Every participant was classified into only 1 of 6 groups defined by specific low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or triglyceride cut points. Multivariate linear and relative risk regressions evaluated the cross-sectional associations with CIMT and CAC after adjusting for CVD risk factors. Interactions with race, sex, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were evaluated for CIMT and CAC outcomes.


Among 4,792 participants, only those with combined hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia demonstrated both increased common CIMT (combined hyperlipidemia 0.048 mm thicker, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.016 to 0.080 mm; hypercholesterolemia 0.048 mm thicker, 95% CI: 0.029 to 0.067 mm) and internal CIMT (combined hyperlipidemia 0.120 mm thicker, 95% CI: 0.032 to 0.208 mm; and hypercholesterolemia 0.161 mm thicker, 95% CI: 0.098 to 0.223 mm) as well as increased risk for prevalent CAC (combined hyperlipidemia relative risk: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.38; hypercholesterolemia relative risk: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.34) compared with normolipemia. The interactions between lipid parameters and race, sex, or high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were not significant for any outcomes.


Combined hyperlipidemia and simple hypercholesterolemia were associated with increased CIMT and prevalent CAC in a relatively healthy multiethnic population.

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