Predictive markers of abdominal aortic stiffness measured by echo-tracking in subjects with varying insulin sensitivity

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Arterial stiffness is influenced by advancing age and vascular disease and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events and death. Using ultrasound measurements, arterial stiffness in a specific arterial segment can be assessed. The aim of this observational study was to explore the prospective and cross-sectional associations between arterial stiffness measured by ultrasound locally in the abdominal aorta and cardiovascular risk factors/markers including insulin resistance measured by the homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), lipids and abdominal obesity. This study includes 335 subjects from Malmoö, Sweden, examined in 1991–1994 and again at follow-up in 1998–2000 (mean age 64 years, 42% men). Ultrasound measurement of the abdominal aorta was performed at follow-up investigation. In the female subgroup, there was a positive association between HOMA-IR at baseline and abdominal aortic stiffness at follow-up (β=0.18, P=0.03) and a negative association between high-density lipoprotein and aortic stiffness (β= -0.23, P=0.005), independently of classical cardiovascular risk factors. These associations were not found among men. The results suggest a greater or different role of impaired glucose metabolism in the pathophysiology of arterial stiffness in women than in men.

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