Background Reference values and age-related changes of the wall thickness of the abdominal aorta have not been described in the general population. We characterized age-, race-, and gender-specific distributions, and yearly rates of change of mean aortic wall thickness (MAWT), and associations between MAWT and cardiovascular risk factors in a multi-ethnic population-based probability sample. Methods Magnetic resonance imaging measurements of MAWT were performed on 2466 free-living white, black, and Hispanic adult subjects. MAWT race/ethnicity- and gender-specific percentile values across age were estimated using regression analyses. Results MAWT was greater in men than in women and increased linearly with age in all the groups and across all the percentiles. Hispanic women had the thinnest and black men the thickest aortas. Black men had the highest and white women the lowest age-related MAWT increase. Age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels, and fasting glucose levels were independent predictors of MAWT. Conclusions Age, gender, and racial/ethnic differences in MAWT distributions exist in the general population. Such differences should be considered in future investigations assessing aortic atherosclerosis and the effects of anti-atherosclerotic therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine