Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between C-reactive protein (CRP) and calcific aortic valve disease in a large, randomly selected, population-based cohort.
Background: The pathobiology of calcific aortic stenosis involves an active inflammatory, atheromatous, osteogenic process. Elevations in CRP, a measure of systemic inflammation, have been associated with aortic stenosis.
Methods: Two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography and CRP measurement were performed at baseline in 5,621 participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Multivariable analysis was used to identify CRP as a predictor of baseline and incident aortic stenosis.
Results: At a mean echocardiographic follow-up of 5 years, 9% of subjects with aortic sclerosis progressed to some degree of aortic stenosis. Increasing age (odds ratio [OR] 1.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09 to 1.16; p < 0.001) and male gender (OR 3.05, 95% CI 1.76 to 5.27; p < 0.001) were related to risk of incident aortic stenosis, whereas increasing height (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.94 to 0.99; p = 0.013) and African-American ethnicity conveyed a lower risk (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.95; p = 0.035). C-reactive protein, treated as a continuous variable, was not associated with baseline aortic stenosis, progression to aortic sclerosis (adjusted OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.02; p = 0.107), or progression to aortic stenosis (adjusted OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.03; p = 0.092).
Conclusions: In this large population-based cohort, approximately 9% of subjects with aortic sclerosis progressed to aortic stenosis over a 5-year follow-up period. There was no association between CRP levels and the presence of calcific aortic-valve disease or incident aortic stenosis. C-reactive protein appears to be a poor predictor of subclinical calcific aortic-valve disease.