The Association of Socioeconomic Status With Subclinical Myocardial Damage, Incident Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality in the ARIC Study

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Abstract

The association between socioeconomic status (SES) and subclinical cardiovascular disease is not well understood. Using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, we sought to evaluate the cross-sectional and prospective associations of SES, measured by annual income and educational level, with elevated high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) concentrations (≥14 ng/L) using Poisson and multinomial logistic regressions, respectively. We used Cox proportional hazard models to compare the risks of coronary heart disease, heart failure, and mortality according to SES, stratified by baseline hs-cTnT concentration. Our study baseline was 1990-1992, with follow-up through 2011. We found an independent association between SES and hs-cTnT. When comparing participants in the lowest educational level group to those in the highest, the adjusted prevalence ratios for elevated hs-cTnT were 1.36 (95% confidence interval: 1.05, 1.75) overall, 1.83 (95% confidence interval: 1.23, 2.71) in blacks, and 1.05 (95% confidence interval: 0.73, 1.52) in whites (P for interaction = 0.08). Among participants with nonelevated hs-cTnT concentrations, when comparing those in the lowest income groups to those in the highest, the adjusted hazard ratios were strongest for heart failure and death. Having elevated baseline hs-cTnT doubled the risk of heart failure and death. Persons with low SES and elevated hs-cTnT concentrations have the greatest risk of cardiovascular events, which suggests that this group should be aggressively targeted for cardiovascular risk reduction.

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