Association of carotid atherosclerosis and stiffness with abdominal aortic aneurysm: The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study

Lu Yao, Aaron R. Folsom, Alvaro Alonso, Pamela L. Lutsey, James S. Pankow, Weihua Guan, Susan Cheng, Frank A. Lederle, Weihong Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Individuals with atherosclerosis and stiffness often have increased abdominal aortic diameters, but prospective evidence linking them to the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is limited. Methods: We prospectively examined the relationship of carotid atherosclerosis and stiffness with future risk of AAA in ARIC. At Visits 1 (1987–89) or 2 (1990–1992), we assessed carotid atherosclerosis (represented by greater carotid intima-media thickness [cIMT] or presence of atherosclerotic plaque) and lower carotid distensibility (reflected by a higher carotid Beta Index). We identified incident, clinical AAAs during follow-up through 2011 using hospital discharge codes, Medicare outpatient diagnoses, or death certificates. Results: Participants’ mean age at baseline was 54.2 years (SD 5.8), 45% were male and 73% white. During a median of 22.5 years of follow-up, 542 clinical AAAs were ascertained. After multivariable adjustment, the presence of carotid atherosclerotic plaque at baseline was associated with 1.31 (95% CI: 1.10–1.57; p = 0.003) times higher risk of clinical AAA. Greater cIMT and Beta Index were also associated with clinical AAA with a dose-response across quartiles (p trend for both: 0.006; hazard ratios [95% CI] for the highest vs. lowest quartiles: 1.55 [1.13–2.11] and 1.68 [1.16–2.43], respectively). The associations of cIMT and Beta Index with AAA were independent of each other. Conclusions: This prospective population-based study found that indices of greater carotid atherosclerosis and lower carotid distensibility are markers of increased AAA risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-116
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is financially supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) through grant R01 HL103695 and ARIC contracts HHSN268201100005C , HHSN268201100006C , HHSN268201100007C , HHSN268201100008C , HHSN268201100009C , HHSN268201100010C , HHSN268201100011C , and HHSN268201100012C .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid distensibility
  • Carotid intima-media thickness
  • Carotid plaque


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of carotid atherosclerosis and stiffness with abdominal aortic aneurysm: The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this