Arterial stiffness and subclinical atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries at different stages of dysglycaemia

Diabet Med. 2023 Jul;40(7):e15102. doi: 10.1111/dme.15102. Epub 2023 Apr 8.


Aim: Our aim was to investigate in a large population-based cohort study whether increased arterial stiffness and subclinical atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries differ at different stages of dysglycaemia.

Methods: Data were obtained from SCAPIS, a population-based cohort of participants 50-64 years. The study population of 9379 participants was categorised according to glycaemic status: normoglycaemic, pre-diabetes (fasting glucose: 6.1-6.9 mmol/L and/or HbA1c 6%-6.4%) and diabetes. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured by the SphygmoCor XCEL system and arterial stiffness was defined by PWV ≥10 m/s. Coronary artery calcium score (CACS) was assessed by coronary computed tomography and coronary artery calcification was defined by CACS ≥100.

Results: We identified 1964 (21%) participants with dysglycaemia, out of which 742 (7.9%) had diabetes mellitus. PWV ≥10 m/s was present in 808 (11%), 191 (16%), 200 (27%) and CACS ≥100 in 801 (11%), 190 (16%), 191 (28%) participants with normoglycaemia, pre-diabetes and diabetes, respectively, all, p < 0.001. The overlap between PWV ≥10 m/s and CACS ≥100 within each glycaemic category was 188 (2.5%), 44 (3.6%) and 77 (10) respectively. There was an association between glycaemic status and increased PWV in the fully adjusted models, but not for glycaemic status and CACS ≥100, where there was no difference for pre-diabetes compared to normoglycaemia, OR 1.2 (95% CI 0.98-1.4). In the total study population, there was an association between HbA1c and PWV after adjustment, p < 0.001.

Conclusions: Our results show that increased arterial stiffness and subclinical coronary artery atherosclerosis are present in the early stages of dysglycaemia, but the overlap between markers of major subclinical vascular damage was small in all glycaemic categories. This could be explained by different pathways in the pathogenesis of arterial stiffness or atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries.

Keywords: arterial stiffness; coronary artery calcium score; pre-diabetes; pulse wave velocity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / epidemiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease* / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Prediabetic State* / complications
  • Prediabetic State* / epidemiology
  • Pulse Wave Analysis / adverse effects
  • Vascular Stiffness*


  • Glycated Hemoglobin