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Coron Artery Dis. 2013 Dec;24(8):657-62. doi: 10.1097/MCA.0000000000000034.

The association of brachial artery diameter with noncalcified coronary plaque burden in apparently healthy individuals.

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Departments of aMedicine bRadiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Coronary atherosclerosis has been associated with systemic arterial remodeling even in nonatherosclerotic vessels. However, it is not known whether systemic remodeling is differentially associated with the cumulative atherosclerotic process, reflected by putatively quiescent calcified plaque (CP), or with active atherosclerosis, consisting of noncalcified plaque (NCP). We thus examined the association of brachial artery diameter (BAD), an artery that does not suffer clinical atherosclerosis, with the presence and the extent of coronary CP and NCP.


We studied 688 apparently healthy, asymptomatic participants from 350 families with a history of early-onset coronary artery disease (<60 years of age) by measuring coronary artery disease risk factors and coronary plaque using dual-source computed tomographic angiography. Plaque volumes were quantified using a validated automated method. BAD was measured during diastole using B-mode ultrasound. The association of resting BAD with any detectable plaque, and log-transformed CP and NCP volumes if detectable, was tested using generalized estimating equations adjusted for age, sex, race, current smoking, diabetes, hypertension, BMI, and non-HDL and HDL cholesterol.


Higher quintiles of BAD were associated with greater age and male sex (both P<0.001). In the fully adjusted analysis, CP volume was not associated with BAD (P=0.65) but a 1 ml greater NCP volume was associated with a 0.65 mm larger BAD (P=0.027).


Our results suggest that systemic arterial remodeling of nonatherosclerotic arteries is a dynamic process that is correlated with the extent of putatively active atherosclerotic processes in distant beds but not with inactive accumulated plaque burden.

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