Objectives: The purpose of this study was to: 1) determine the significance and magnitude of associations between novel cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) after adjustment for traditional risk factors; and 2) ascertain the extent to which novel risk factors explain the excess or lower risk for PAD in different ethnic groups.
Background: Previous reports have found a significant difference in the risk of PAD by ethnic group, with some of the risk difference attributed to different levels of traditional CVD risk factors.
Methods: A total of 6,814 individuals free of clinically apparent CVD were enrolled in the MESA (Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) and underwent standardized testing for the presence of PAD by the ankle-brachial index. These subjects also had fasting blood drawn for serum cholesterol, glucose, and a number of novel biomarkers for CVD. Non-Hispanic whites were the largest ethnic group (38%), followed by African Americans (28%), Hispanics (22%), and Chinese (12%).
Results: In this cross-sectional analysis, 6,653 subjects with an ankle brachial index <1.40 were analyzed. The mean (SD) age was 62.2 (10.2) years, and 52.9% were women. Interleukin-6, fibrinogen, D-dimer, and homocysteine were significantly associated with PAD after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors. Compared with non-Hispanic whites and after adjustment for traditional and "novel" risk factors, the odds for PAD were 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07 to 2.02) times higher in African Americans, while being 0.45 (95% CI: 0.29 to 0.70) and 0.44 (95% CI: 0.24 to 0.78) in Hispanics and Chinese, respectively.
Conclusions: Ethnic associations with PAD remained significant even after adjustment for traditional and novel risk factors. This suggests that unknown factors may account for the residual ethnic differences in PAD.