OBJECTIVES: To determine the contribution of gradations of subclinical vascular disease (SVD) to the likelihood of longer survival and to determine what allows some individuals with SVD to live longer.
DESIGN: Cohort study.
SETTING: Cardiovascular Health Study.
PARTICIPANTS: Individuals born between June 30, 1918, and June 30, 1921 (N = 2,082; aged 70-75 at baseline (1992-93)).
MEASUREMENTS: A SVD index was scored as 0 for no abnormalities, 1 for mild abnormalities, and 2 for severe abnormalities on ankle-arm index, electrocardiogram, and common carotid intima-media thickness measured at baseline. Survival groups were categorized as 80 and younger, 81 to 84, 85 to 89, and 90 and older.
RESULTS: A 1-point lower SVD score was associated with 1.22 greater odds (95% confidence interval = 1.14-1.31) of longer survival, independent of potential confounders. This association was unchanged after adjustment for intermediate incident cardiovascular events. There was suggestion of an interaction between kidney function, smoking, and C-reactive protein and SVD; the association between SVD and longer survival appeared to be modestly greater in persons with poor kidney function, inflammation, or a history of smoking.
CONCLUSION: A lower burden of SVD is associated with longer survival, independent of intermediate cardiovascular events. Abstinence from smoking, better kidney function, and lower inflammation may attenuate the effects of higher SVD and promote longer survival.
- cardiovascular disease
- kidney function
- subclinical disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas