JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Gender paradox in cardiac calcium deposits in middle-aged and elderly patients: mitral annular and coronary calcifications interrelationship.

Maturitas 2000 July 32
OBJECTIVES: mitral annular calcification (MAC) occurs mainly in middle-aged and elderly patients and can lead to serious clinical consequences. Male predominance in the prevalence of coronary disease is well-established. Paradoxically, the prevalence of MAC, which is theoretically based on the same etiological mechanisms as coronary atherosclerosis, seems to be predominant in postmenopausal women. The goal of this work was to investigate gender influences on interrelationship between MAC and coronary calcifications (CC) in the same population of middle-aged and elderly patients with increased cardiovascular risk.

METHODS: the study comprised 522 patients (284 men and 238 postmenopausal women, aged 52-80 years, mean 65+/-6), who were recruited to the International Nifedipine GITS Study of Intervention as a Goal in Hypertension Treatment (INSIGHT) study in our region. They underwent both fast spiral computed tomography of the heart and echo-Doppler. MAC was defined as advanced when its thickness was > or =5mm; otherwise it was defined as trivial.

RESULTS: there were 37 (16%) women and 25 (9%) men with advanced MAC (AMAC), 97 (41%) women and 118 (42%) men with trivial MAC and 104 (44%) women and 141 (50%) men without MAC. The prevalence of any type of CC was significantly higher among men (P=0. 001). In sharp contrast to the distinct male predominance in coronary disease, AMAC was more prevalent among women. In patients without CC prevalence was 9 and 4%, increasing to 16 and 8% in those with nonsevere CC and to 38 and 14% in patients with severe CC, respectively (P=0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that AMAC can predict the presence of severe CC in women and men, with OR of 4.1 and 2.6 (CI 1.2-14.8 and 1.0-10.6) and coronary disease with OR of 2. 5 and 2.5 (CI 0.6-10.6 and 1.0-6.4), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: AMAC signifies a high probability of coronary atherosclerosis in patients of both genders. The inverted gender predominance in the prevalence of annular calcification and CC could be explained by additional etiological (likely osteoporotic) mechanisms of MAC development among postmenopausal women.

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