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To examine the association of the metabolic syndrome, defined by World Health Organization (WHO) and Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP-III) criteria, and its components with coronary artery calcium (CAC) progression.Participants were 338 older community-dwelling men and women without known heart disease who had measurements of heart disease risk factors and CAC at two clinic visits within an average interval of 4.5 years. Progression was defined as an increase in total CAC volume score ≥2.5 mm3.At baseline, mean age was 67.6 years; metabolic syndrome was present in 15.1% by WHO criteria and in 11.8% by ATP-III criteria, and 5.3% met both criteria. Participants with WHO-defined metabolic syndrome had a greater change in total CAC volume score than those without (P = 0.001). There was no significant difference in CAC volume change by ATP-III–defined metabolic syndrome status (P = 0.69). Overall, 46.4% of participants were CAC progressors. In logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, smoking status, and LDL cholesterol, neither WHO–nor ATP-III–defined metabolic syndrome predicted CAC progression. Among metabolic syndrome components, only hypertension was independently associated with CAC progression (odds ratio 2.11 [95% CI 1.33–3.3], P = 0.002). Fasting blood glucose (>100 mg/dl) was an independent predictor of CAC progression, but only for the 118 participants younger than age 65 years (2.3 [1.01–5.5], P = 0.04).In older adults without known heart disease, blood pressure levels and fasting plasma glucose were better independent determinants of CAC progression than metabolic syndrome itself.