SUMMARY - We tested for association between cortical and trabecular volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) with abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) prevalence in 278 Afro-Caribbean men. AAC was present in 68.3 % of the men. Greater cortical, but not trabecular, vBMD was associated with significantly decreased odds of AAC independent of traditional risk factors.
INTRODUCTION - The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence and correlates of AAC in a sample of 278 Afro-Caribbean men (mean age 56) and to test for a largely unexplored association between cortical and trabecular vBMD with AAC prevalence.
METHODS - Men were recruited consecutively as part of an ongoing prospective cohort study of body composition in men aged 40+. For this analysis, AAC was assessed by computed tomography of the abdomen from L3 to S1. Aortic calcium was scored using the Agatston method, and prevalence was defined as a score ≥10 to rule out false positives. Men also had BMD assessed using peripheral quantitative computed tomography at 4 % (trabecular vBMD) and 33 % (cortical vBMD) of the radius and tibia.
RESULTS - Abdominal aortic calcification was present in 68.3 % of the men. Significant independent predictors of AAC prevalence were increased age, increased BMI, hypertension, and current smoking. Age was the strongest predictor, with each SD (7.8 year) increase in age conferring 2.7 times increased odds of having AAC (P < 0.0001). A one SD greater cortical, but not trabecular, vBMD was associated with a significant decreased odds of AAC prevalence independent of other traditional risk factors (OR 0.65; 95 % CI 0.45-0.92).
CONCLUSIONS - Cortical vBMD is inversely associated with AAC presence. This finding suggests that there may be shared physiology between cortical bone compartment remodeling and vascular calcification.