Aortic Valve Calcification as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Events in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
Owens, David S.
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Objective: To test whether aortic valve calcium (AVC) is independently associated with coronary and cardiovascular events in a primary-prevention population. Background: Aortic sclerosis is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality among the elderly, but the mechanisms underlying this association remain controversial, and this association may not extend to younger individuals. Methods: We performed a prospective analysis of 6,685 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. All subjects, aged 45-84 years and free of clinical cardiovascular disease, underwent computed tomography for AVC and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring. Associations were assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression and incremental adjustments for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, inflammatory biomarkers and subclinical coronary atherosclerosis. Results: Over a median follow up of 5.8 [IQR 5.6, 5.9] years, adjusting for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors, subjects with AVC (n=894, 13.4%) had higher risks of cardiovascular (HR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.10-2.03) and coronary (HR, 1.72; 95% CI, 1.19-2.49) events compared to those without AVC. Adjustments for inflammatory biomarkers did not alter these associations, but adjustment for CAC substantially attenuated both cardiovascular (HR, 1.32; 95% CI: 0.98-1.78) and coronary (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 0.98-2.02) event risk. AVC remained predictive of cardiovascular mortality even after full adjustment (HR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.22-5.21). Conclusions: In this multiethnic MESA cohort, AVC predicts cardiovascular and coronary event risk independent of traditional risk factors and inflammatory biomarkers, likely due to the strong correlation between AVC and subclinical atherosclerosis. The association of AVC with excess cardiovascular mortality beyond coronary atherosclerosis risk merits further investigation.
- Epidemiology