Association Between Levels of Blood Pressure and Measures of Subclinical Disease. Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Bruce M. Psaty, Alice M. Arnold, Jean Olson, Mohammed F. Saad, Steven Shea, Wendy Post, Gregory L. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: High blood pressure (BP) is associated with the presence and severity of subclinical disease. Less is known about associations between normal levels of BP and various measures of subclinical disease. Methods: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atheroclerosis (MESA) enrolled 6814 participants free of clinical cardiovascular disease (38% white, 28% African American, 22% Hispanic, and 12% Asian). The baseline examination included standardized measures of BP, common carotid intimal-medial thickness determined by ultrasonography, coronary artery calcium by computed tomography, and left ventricular mass by magnetic resonance imaging. Participants with treated hypertension (n = 2173) were excluded. Statistical methods included analysis of variance, linear regression, and χ2 tests. Results: Among the 4640 participants, BP was strongly related to age and African American ethnicity. Carotid intimal-medial thickness was directly associated with systolic BP (SBP) and inversely associated with diastolic BP (DBP, P < .001 for both). For SBP in men, for instance, the adjusted regression coefficient was 0.058 mm per 1 SD (21 mm Hg; 95% CI, 0.045 to 0.070), and for SBP in women it was 0.043 (95% CI, 0.033 to 0.052). Left ventricular mass was directly related to SBP and DBP. The proportion with non-zero calcium scores increased with SBP but decreased with DBP. Conclusions: The range of BP examined in this study fell largely within the normal or prehypertension stage. In cross-sectional analysis of data from a population-based study, these untreated levels of BP were associated with a variety of measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1110-1117
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Hypertension
  • cardiovascular disease
  • observational study
  • subclinical disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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