Intimal and medial calcification in relation to cardiovascular risk factors

Sabine R. Zwakenberg, Pim A. de Jong, Eva J. Hendriks, Jan Westerink, Wilko Spiering, Gert J. de Borst, Maarten J. Cramer, Jonas W. Bartstra, Teddo Doesburg, Femke Rutters, Amber A. van der Heijden, Casper Schalkwijk, Leon J. Schurgers, Yvonne T. van der Schouw, Joline W. J. Beulens

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Purpose To assess specific risk factors and biomarkers associated with intimal arterial calcification (IAC) and medial arterial calcification (MAC). Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study in patients with or at risk of vascular disease from the SMART study(n = 520) and the DCS cohort(n = 198). Non-contrast computed tomography scanning of the lower extremities was performed and calcification in the femoral and crural arteries was scored as absent, predominant IAC, predominant MAC or indistinguishable. Multinomial regression models were used to assess the associations between cardiovascular risk factors and calcification patterns. Biomarkers for inflammation, calcification and vitamin K status were measured in a subset of patients with IAC(n = 151) and MAC(n = 151). Results Femoral calcification was found in 77% of the participants, of whom 38% had IAC, 28% had MAC and 11% were scored as indistinguishable. The absolute agreement between the femoral and crural arteries was high(69%). Higher age, male sex, statin use and history of coronary artery disease were associated with higher prevalences of femoral IAC and MAC compared to absence of calcification. Smoking and low ankle-brachial-index (ABI) were associated with higher prevalence of IAC and high ABI was associated with less IAC. Compared to patients with IAC, patients with MAC more often had diabetes, have a high ABI and were less often smokers. Inactive Matrix-Gla Protein was associated with increased MAC prevalence, while osteonectin was associated with decreased risk of MAC, compared to IAC. Conclusions When femoral calcification is present, the majority of the patients have IAC or MAC throughout the lower extremity, which have different associated risk factor profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0235228
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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