Subclinical Coronary Atherosclerosis Predicts Cardiovascular Risk in Different Stages of Hypertension
Result of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study
Prehypertension is a frequent condition and has been demonstrated to increase cardiovascular risk. However, the association with coronary atherosclerosis as part of target organ damage is not well understood. We investigated the cross-sectional relationship and longitudinal outcome between blood pressure categories and coronary artery calcification (CAC), quantified by electron beam computed tomography, in 4181 participants from the population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study cohort. At baseline, we observed a continuous increase in calcium scores with increasing blood pressure categories. During a median follow-up period of 7.18 years, 115 primary end points (2.8%; fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction) and 152 secondary end points (3.6%; stroke and coronary revascularization) occurred. We observed a continuous increase in age- and risk factor-adjusted secondary endpoints (hazard ratios [95% CI]) with increasing blood pressure categories (referent: normotension) in men: prehypertension, 1.80 (0.53–6.13); stage 1 hypertension, 2.27 (0.66–7.81); and stage 2 hypertension, 4.10 (1.27–13.24) and in women: prehypertension, 1.13 (0.34–3.74); stage 1 hypertension, 2.14 (0.67–6.85); and stage 2 hypertension, 3.33 (1.24–8.90), respectively, but not in primary endpoints. Cumulative event rates were determined by blood pressure categories and the CAC. In prehypertension, the adjusted hazard ratios for all of the events were, for CAC 1 to 99, 2.05 (0.80–5.23; P=0.13); 100 to 399, 3.12 (1.10–8.85; P=0.03); and ≥400, 7.72 (2.67–22.27; P=0.0002). Risk of myocardial infarction and stroke in hypertension but also in prehypertension depends on the degree of CAC. This marker of target-organ damage might be included, when lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapeutic effects in prehypertensive individuals are tested to avoid exposure to risk and increase benefit.
- subclinical atherosclerosis
- coronary artery calcium
- risk prediction
- target organ damage
- Received July 31, 2011.
- Revision received August 8, 2011.
- Accepted October 28, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.