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Association of Aortic Stiffness and Pressure Pulsatility With Noninvasive Estimates of Hepatic Steatosis and Fibrosis: The Framingham Heart Study.

BACKGROUND: Arterial stiffening may contribute to the pathogenesis of metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease. We aimed to assess relations of vascular hemodynamic measures with measures of hepatic steatosis and fibrosis in the community.

METHODS: Our sample was drawn from the Framingham Offspring, New Offspring Spouse, Third Generation, Omni-1, and Omni-2 cohorts (N=3875; mean age, 56 years; 54% women). We used vibration-controlled transient elastography to assess controlled attenuation parameter and liver stiffness measurements as measures of liver steatosis and liver fibrosis, respectively. We assessed noninvasive vascular hemodynamics using arterial tonometry. We assessed cross-sectional relations of vascular hemodynamic measures with continuous and dichotomous measures of hepatic steatosis and fibrosis using multivariable linear and logistic regression.

RESULTS: In multivariable models adjusting for cardiometabolic risk factors, higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (estimated β per SD, 0.05 [95% CI, 0.01-0.09]; P =0.003), but not forward pressure wave amplitude and central pulse pressure, was associated with more liver steatosis (higher controlled attenuation parameter). Additionally, higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (β=0.11 [95% CI, 0.07-0.15]; P <0.001), forward pressure wave amplitude (β=0.05 [95% CI, 0.01-0.09]; P =0.01), and central pulse pressure (β=0.05 [95% CI, 0.01-0.09]; P =0.01) were associated with more hepatic fibrosis (higher liver stiffness measurement). Associations were more prominent among men and among participants with obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (interaction P values, <0.001-0.04). Higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, but not forward pressure wave amplitude and central pulse pressure, was associated with higher odds of hepatic steatosis (odds ratio, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.02-1.31]; P =0.02) and fibrosis (odds ratio, 1.40 [95% CI, 1.19-1.64]; P <0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Elevated aortic stiffness and pressure pulsatility may contribute to hepatic steatosis and fibrosis.

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