BACKGROUND: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is associated with severe coronary heart disease in the great majority of cases. Whether carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT), a known surrogate marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, is associated with risk of SCD in a general population remains unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between C-IMT and risk of SCD. METHODS AND RESULTS: We examined a total of 20 862 participants: 15 307 participants of the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study and 5555 participants of the CHS (Cardiovascular Health Study). C-IMT and common carotid artery intima-media thickness was measured at baseline by ultrasound. Presence of plaque was judged by trained readers. Over a median of 23.5 years of follow-up, 569 participants had SCD (1.81 cases per 1000 person-years) in the ARIC study. Mean C-IMT and common carotid artery intima-media thickness were associated with risk of SCD after adjustment for traditional risk factors and time-varying adjustors: hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs for fourth versus first quartile were 1.64 (1.15– 2.63) and 1.49 (1.05–2.11), respectively. In CHS, 302 participants developed SCD (4.64 cases per 1000 person-years) over 13.1 years. Maximum C-IMT was associated with risk of SCD after adjustment: HR (95% CI) for fourth versus first quartile was 1.75 (1.22–2.51). Presence of plaque was associated with 35% increased risk of SCD: HR (95% CI) of 1.37 (1.13–1.67) in the ARIC study and 1.32 (1.04–1.68) in CHS. CONCLUSIONS: C-IMT was associated with risk of SCD in 2 biracial community-based cohorts. C-IMT may be used as a marker of SCD risk and potentially to initiate early therapeutic interventions to mitigate the risk.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study is performed as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts (HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C). The CHS (Cardiovascular Health Study) was supported by contracts HHSN268201200036C, HHSN268200800007C, HHSN268201800001C, N01HC55222, N01HC85079, N01HC85080, N01HC85081, N01HC85082, N01HC85083, and N01HC85086 and grants U01HL080295 and U01HL130114 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, with additional contribution from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Additional support was provided by R01AG023629 from the National Institute on Aging. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
© 2020 The Authors.
- Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
- Sudden Cardiac Death