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

Pathmaja Paramsothy, Robert H Knopp, Alain G Bertoni, Roger S Blumenthal, Bruce A Wasserman, Michael Y Tsai, Tessa Rue, Nathan D Wong, Susan R Heckbert
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2010 September 21, 56 (13): 1034-41

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

BACKGROUND: 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.

METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

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

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