Introduction: Hypertension promotes atherosclerosis and is one of the most important cardiovascular risk factors. However, the association between hypertension and thoracic aortic calcification (TAC) in the general Asian population remains unknown.
Hypothesis: The aim of this study was to quantify TAC using multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) and examine whether blood pressure levels are associated with TAC in the normotension, prehypertension and hypertension populations in Taiwan.
Methods: We studied a nonselective, consecutive population of 2,986 Asians including 1,093 normotension, 1081 prehypertension, and 812 overtly hypertension subjects who underwent an annual health survey. Measures of TAC included total Agatston score, total plaque volume and mean density (HU) of plaques using a non-contrast 16-slice multi-detector computed tomography with off-line processing.
Results: Patients with hypertension and prehypertension had greater Agatston score, total plaque volume and mean density (HU) of plaques (p < 0.001). After adjustment for age, gender, BMI and traditional cardiovascular risks, among hypertension, prehypertension and normotension, the significant association with higher Agatston score, larger total plaque volume and higher mean HU of TAC were still remained (all p<0.05).
Conclusions: Hypertension and prehypertension, compared to normotension, showed significant higher amount of TAC, indicating progression of pathologic atherosclerosis in a general Asian population.