Renal artery calcium is independently associated with hypertension

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007 Oct 16;50(16):1578-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2007.07.015. Epub 2007 Oct 1.


Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that renal artery calcium (RAC), a marker of atherosclerotic plaque burden, is also significantly associated with higher blood pressure levels and a diagnosis of hypertension.

Background: In the nonrenal systemic vasculature, atherosclerotic plaque burden has been shown to be significantly associated with hypertension.

Methods: A total of 1,435 consecutive patients were evaluated at a university-affiliated disease prevention center for the extent of calcified atherosclerosis in the systemic vasculature.

Results: The overall prevalence of calcium in either renal artery was 17.1%, with men having a significantly higher prevalence (19.0%, 153 of 804) than women (14.7%, 93 of 631) (p = 0.03). After adjustment for age and gender, subjects with a RAC score >0 had a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension (41.2 vs. 29.5, p < 0.01). In a logistic model that adjusted for age, gender, body mass index, percent body fat, diabetes, smoking, dyslipidemia, and the extent of calcified atherosclerosis in the nonrenal vasculature, those with any RAC had a significantly higher odds ratio (1.61, p = 0.01) for hypertension than those with no RAC.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the presence of RAC is associated with higher odds for prevalent hypertension, independent of CVD risk factors and the extent of calcified atherosclerosis in the nonrenal vasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcinosis / epidemiology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Renal Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents