Subclinical cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women with low/medium cardiovascular risk by the Framingham risk score.

PMID 25869902


To evaluate the prevalence of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its association with clinical and hormone variables in postmenopausal women from Southern Brazil. Cross-sectional study. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) assessed by electron-beam computed tomography. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and atheromatous plaques assessed using B-mode ultrasound. IMT was measured at three segments. Subclinical CVD was defined as the presence of plaque and/or IMT >0.9 mm. Ninety-seven postmenopausal women (mean age 55 ± 5 years, median duration of menopause 5.8 [3-10] years) were studied. A low/medium Framingham risk score (FRS) was present in 97.9% of participants; 35.1% had subclinical CVD on carotid ultrasound, and 24.7% had the presence of plaque. Seven women had a CAC score ≥ 100, and two had a score ≥ 200. CAC score (p<0.001) and FRS (p=0.013) were higher in patients with subclinical atherosclerosis. Positive correlations were found between IMT and age (rs=0.293 p=0.004), duration of menopause (rs=0.237, p=0.020), and CAC score (rs=0.468, p<0.001). Common carotid IMT (IMT-CC) was negatively associated with estradiol levels (β=-0.237, p=0.018) and positively with age (β=0.210, p=0.033), and BMI (β=0.260, p=0.010). However, correlations with estradiol and age did not remain significant when adjusted for systolic blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol levels. A high prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis was detected in this sample of postmenopausal women with low/medium CV risk by the FRS. The association between IMT-CC and age or endogenous estrogen levels was dependent of blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol in these postmenopausal women from Southern Brazil.