Relationship of bone mineral density with valvular and annular calcification in community-dwelling older people: The Cardiovascular Health Study.

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The process of cardiac calcification bears a resemblance to skeletal bone metabolism and its regulation. Experimental studies suggest that bone mineral density (BMD) and valvular calcification may be reciprocally related, but epidemiologic data are sparse.


We tested the hypothesis that BMD of the total hip and femoral neck measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is inversely associated with prevalence of three echocardiographic measures of cardiac calcification in a cross-sectional analysis of 1497 older adults from the Cardiovascular Health Study. The adjusted association of BMD with aortic valve calcification (AVC), aortic annular calcification (AAC), and mitral annular calcification (MAC) was assessed with relative risk (RR) regression.


Mean (SD) age was 76.2 (4.8) years; 58% were women. Cardiac calcification was highly prevalent in women and men: AVC, 59.5 and 71.0%; AAC 45.1 and 46.7%; MAC 42.8 and 39.5%, respectively. After limited and full adjustment for potential confounders, no statistically significant associations were detected between continuous BMD at either site and the three measures of calcification. Assessment of WHO BMD categories revealed a significant association between osteoporosis at the total hip and AVC in men (adjusted RR compared with normal BMD = 1.24 (1.01-1.53)). In graded sensitivity analyses, there were apparent inverse associations between femoral neck BMD and AVC with stenosis in men, and femoral neck BMD and moderate/severe MAC in women, but these were not significant.


These findings support further investigation of the sex-specific relationships between low BMD and cardiac calcification, and whether processes linking the two could be targeted for therapeutic ends.

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