NAFLD linked to coronary artery calcification, carotid IMT thickness
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is linked to coronary artery calcification and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in people without a history of cardiovascular disease, a recent study has shown.
Accessing the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort, researchers enrolled 4,123 participants (mean age, 63±10 years; 55 percent female) who had adequate noncontrast cardiac computed tomography images available for analysis. MESA data were used for liver fat measurements. Those with known cirrhosis and a history of heavy alcohol, oral corticosteroid or amiodarone use were excluded.
Of the participants, only 729 had NAFLD while the other 3,394 did not. Those with the condition tended to be younger (mean, 61±10 vs 63±11 years; p=0.001) but have higher body mass index (31±5 vs 28±5 kg/m2; p<0.001) and waist circumference (105±13 vs 97±14 cm; p<0.001).
Artery stiffness, indicated by a lower distensibility coefficient (2.4±0.9 vs 2.48±1.1 ×10–3 mmHg–1; p<0.001) and Young’s elastic modulus (1,299±618 vs 1,310±580 mmHg; p=0.035), was also significantly higher in participants with NAFLD. The same was true for the prevalence of coronary artery calcification >0 (53 percent vs 49 percent; p=0.071), though of only borderline significance.
Carotid IMT was likewise significantly elevated in participants with NAFLD (0.88±0.18 vs 0.87±0.2 mm; p=0.003).
Logistic regression analysis further confirmed that internal carotid IMT >1 mm (odds ratio [OR], 1.22, 95 percent CI, 1.01–1.47; p<0.05) and coronary artery calcification >0 (OR, 1.41, 1.18–1.75; p<0.005) were both significantly associated with the likelihood of having NAFLD.