Progression of Segment-Specific Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness in Young Adults (from the Bogalusa Heart Study)

      Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) progression is predictive of future cardiovascular events in middle-age and older adults. However, information is scant on segment-specific CIMT progression by race (black vs white) and gender and its predictors during short-term follow-up in asymptomatic young adults. B-mode ultrasound images of the far walls of both carotid arteries were obtained in 842 subjects aged 24 to 43 years and enrolled in the Bogalusa Heart Study (70% whites and 42% men). The CIMT and cardiometabolic risk variables were measured at baseline and after an average of 2.4 years. The mean CIMT progression rates/year adjusted for age, race, and gender were greatest at the bulb, followed by the internal and common carotid segments (p <0.0001). In a multivariate logistic model, age, mean arterial pressure, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly associated with common CIMT progression. Smoking, age, insulin resistance index, and mean arterial pressure were significantly associated with bulb CIMT progression; and the waist/height ratio, smoking, age, and mean arterial pressure were significantly associated with internal CIMT progression, independent of the baseline CIMT and traditional cardiometabolic risk variables, including adiponectin, C-reactive protein, and intercellular adhesion molecules. In addition, the status of progression was associated with a greater prevalence of metabolic syndrome (common and internal CIMT, p <0.05; bulb CIMT, p <0.0001) and diabetes (bulb CIMT only, p <0.001). In conclusion, in younger adults, the magnitude of progression of CIMT within a short period varied in a segment-specific manner, regardless of race or gender, and was predictable using modifiable traditional risk factors. This could have implications for preventive and interventional cardiology.
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