Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of aortic sclerosis and stenosis in the elderly and to identify clinical factors associated with degenerative aortic valve disease.
Background: Several lines of evidence suggest that degenerative aortic valve disease is not an inevitable consequence of aging and may be associated with specific clinical factors.
Methods: In 5,201 subjects > or = 65 years of age enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study, the relation between aortic sclerosis or stenosis identified on echocardiography and clinical risk factors for atherosclerosis was evaluated by using stepwise logistic regression analysis.
Results: Aortic valve sclerosis was present in 26% and aortic valve stenosis in 2% of the entire study cohort; in subjects > or = 75 years of age, sclerosis was present in 37% and stenosis in 2.6%. Independent clinical factors associated with degenerative aortic valve disease included age (twofold increased risk for each 10-year increase in age), male gender (twofold excess risk), present smoking (35% increase in risk) and a history of hypertension (20% increase in risk). Other significant factors included height and high lipoprotein(a) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
Conclusions: Clinical factors associated with aortic sclerosis and stenosis can be identified and are similar to risk factors for atherosclerosis.