Author Affiliations

  1. JA Paramo,
  2. O Beloqui,
  3. C Roncal,
  4. A Benito and
  5. J Orbe
  1. Atherosclerosis Research, Area of Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, Clinica Universitaria, Pamplona, Spain. ja1@unav.es <ja1@unav.es>

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Fibrinogen has been found to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to validate the measurement of plasma fibrinogen as a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis in a series of asymptomatic subjects (n=519, median age 55.5 years, 80% men). DESIGN AND METHODS: All individuals had a complete clinical examination, lipid profile (cholesterol and its high and low density lipoprotein fractions and triglycerides), global vascular risk assessment (PROCAM), and B-mode ultrasonography of the carotid arteries to determine the intima-media thickness (IMT) and the presence of atheroma plaques. C-reactive protein (CRP), and von Willebrand factor (vWF) were also measured in all subjects as markers of inflammation/endothelial damage. RESULTS: In the univariate model, a positive relationship was found between plasma fibrinogen concentration and carotid IMT (p<0.001). Fibrinogen concentration also correlated positively with age (p<0.001), systolic blood pressure (p<0.001), smoking (p<0.05), diabetes (p<0.05), PROCAM (p<0.001), CRP and vWF (p<0.001). In the multivariate analysis, the association of fibrinogen with carotid IMT remained significant (p=0.008) after adjustment for all parameters analyzed. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: In a population sample of adults without clinically overt atherosclerotic disease, elevated fibrinogen levels was related to carotid IMT independently of a wide range of important confounding variables. Plasma fibrinogen may represent a systemic marker of carotid atherosclerosis.