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Cardiovascular Ultrasound

, 6:36

First Online: 16 July 2008Received: 19 June 2008Accepted: 16 July 2008


BackgroundThe high frequency of premature death from cardiovascular disease in indigenous Australians is often attributed to the high prevalence of risk factors, especially type II diabetes mellitus DM. We evaluated the relationship of ethnicity to atherosclerotic burden, as evidenced by carotid intima-media thickness IMT, independent of risk factor status.

MethodsWe studied 227 subjects 147 men; 50 ± 13 y: 119 indigenous subjects with IDM, n = 54, and without DM InDM, n = 65, 108 Caucasian subjects with CDM, n = 52, and without DM CnDM, n = 56. IMT was measured according to standard methods and compared with clinical data and cardiovascular risk factors.

ResultsIn subjects both with and without DM, IMT was significantly greater in indigenous subjects. There were no significant differences in gender, body mass index BMI, systolic blood pressure SBP, or diastolic blood pressure DBP between any of the groups, and subjects with DM showed no difference in plasma HbA1c. Cardiovascular risk factors were significantly more prevalent in indigenous subjects. Nonetheless, ethnicity β = -0.34; p < 0.0001, age β = 0.48; p < 0.0001, and smoking β = 0.13; p < 0.007 were independent predictors of IMT in multiple linear regression models.

ConclusionEthnicity appears to be an independent correlate of preclinical cardiovascular disease, even after correction for the high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in indigenous Australians. Standard approaches to control currently known risk factors are vital to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease, but in themselves may be insufficient to fully address the high prevalence in this population.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-7120-6-36 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Brian A Haluska - Lionel Chan - Leanne Jeffriess - A Andrew Shaw - Joanne Shaw - Thomas H Marwick


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