It has been demonstrated that aortic stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease. We investigated whether this measure is of use in cardiovascular risk stratification in clinical practice for elderly subjects (mean age 71.5 years). Within the framework of the Rotterdam Study, we stratified subjects free of coronary heart disease (CHD) at baseline into categories of low (<10%), intermediate (10-20%) and high (>20%) 10-year risk of CHD based on Framingham risk factors. Within each risk category, we determined the percentages of subjects moving into a higher or lower risk category when adding aortic stiffness to the Framingham risk factors. Among 2849 participants, 223 CHD events occurred during a median follow-up of 7.9 years. In the low risk group, 5% of the subjects could be reclassified and in the high-risk group, 6% of the subjects could be reclassified to the intermediate-risk group. In the intermediate-risk group 3% could be reclassified to the high-risk group and 6% to the low-risk group. In a population of elderly subjects, aortic stiffness measurement in addition to Framingham risk factors leads to a limited reclassification of subjects in 10-year cardiovascular disease-risk categories. Therefore, aortic stiffness is associated with the risk of CHD in elderly, but provides no additional value in cardiovascular risk stratification.

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Journal of Human Hypertension
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verwoert, G., Elias-Smale, S., Rizopoulos, D., Koller, M., Steyerberg, E., Hofman, A., … Witteman, J. (2012). Does aortic stiffness improve the prediction of coronary heart disease in elderly the Rotterdam Study. Journal of Human Hypertension, 26(1), 28–34. doi:10.1038/jhh.2010.124