WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The incidence and progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC) in South Asians may be an important prognostic marker of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Alka M. Kanaya, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues calculated CAC incidence and progression rates and any CAC change using data from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America study for 698 individuals. CAC incidence and progression rates were compared to those in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted CAC incidence was 8.8 and 3.6 percent in men and women, respectively, among those with no CAC at baseline. Median annual CAC progression was 26 and 13 for men and women. Compared with the MESA cohort, age-adjusted CAC incidence was similar in South Asian men compared with white, black, and Latino men but was significantly higher than that seen in Chinese men (11.1 versus 5.7 percent). Chinese, black, and Latino men had significantly less CAC change compared with South Asian men after adjustment for confounders; no differences were seen for South Asian and white men. No difference in CAC incidence or progression was seen for South Asian women and women in the MESA cohort.

“Both CAC burden and progression have been shown to be independent predictors of coronary heart disease in whites, blacks, Latinos, and Chinese Americans,” Kanaya said in a statement. “The next step for us is to determine if CAC burden and/or progression predicts those at highest risk of having a heart attack or stroke among South Asians.”

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