Sex and Topographic Differences in Associations Between Large-Artery Wall Thickness and Coronary Risk Profile in a French Working Cohort: The AXA Study

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Abstract

Previous reports have investigated associations between carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and cardiovascular risk factors. Our objective was to investigate this question in greater depth by measuring both femoral and carotid IMT in relation to sex and multifactorial coronary risk. We investigated carotid and femoral artery IMT by using ultrasonography in 326 men and 462 women, 17 to 65 years old. We also evaluated body mass index, blood pressure, blood lipids, glucose, smoking, and Framingham coronary risk. In both vessels, IMT was lower in women than in men. Significant relations between carotid and femoral IMT existed with age and most risk factors in both sexes. After adjustment for age, carotid IMT was related to risk factors in both sexes except for diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and smoking in women, whereas femoral IMT was related to triglycerides and smoking in both sexes, systolic blood pressure and blood glucose in men, and total and HDL cholesterol in women. Significant unadjusted and age-adjusted relations of Framingham risk existed with carotid and femoral IMT in both sexes, but slopes of these relations were greater (1) before than after age adjustment, (2) in men than in women at both sites, except the femoral artery after age adjustment, and (3) at the carotid than at the femoral site in both sexes before age adjustment. Carotid IMT in men appears to be a more powerful predictor than it is in women and femoral IMT in both sexes in reflecting multifactorial coronary risk burden, but these differences are partly conditional on age. (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1998;18:584-590.)

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