Metabolic syndrome increases carotid artery stiffness: The Northern Manhattan Study

David Della-Morte, Hannah Gardener, Federica Denaro, Bernadette Boden-Albala, Mitchell S V Elkind, Myunghee C. Paik, Ralph L. Sacco, Tatjana Rundek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Arterial stiffness, an intermediate pre-clinical marker of atherosclerosis, has been associated with an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The metabolic syndrome and its components are established cardiovascular disease risk factors and may also increase arterial stiffness; however, data regarding this are limited. Aim: The goal of this study was to determine the association between the metabolic syndrome and carotid artery stiffness in an elderly multi-ethnic cohort. Methods: Carotid artery stiffness was assessed by carotid ultrasound as part of the Northern Manhattan Study, a prospective population-based cohort of stroke-free individuals. Carotid artery stiffness was calculated as [ln(systolic BP/diastolic BP)/strain], where strain was [(systolic diameter-diastolic diameter)/diastolic diameter]. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program: Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. LogSTIFF was analysed as the dependent variable in linear regression models, adjusting for demographics, education, current smoking, presence of carotid plaque and intima-media thickness. Results: Carotid artery stiffness was analysed in 1133 Northern Manhattan Study subjects (mean age 65 ± 9 years; 61% women; 58% Hispanic, 22% Black and 20% Caucasian). The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 49%. The mean LogSTIFF was 2·01 ± 0·61 among those with the metabolic syndrome and 1·90 ± 0·59 among those without the metabolic syndrome (P=0·003). The metabolic syndrome was significantly associated with increased logSTIFF in the final adjusted model (parameter estimate β=0·100, P=0·01). Among individual metabolic syndrome components, waist circumference and elevated blood pressure were most significantly associated with a mean increase in logSTIFF (P<0·01). Conclusion: The metabolic syndrome is significantly associated with increased carotid artery stiffness in a multiethnic population. Increased carotid artery stiffness may, in part, explain a high risk of stroke among individuals with the metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Elderly
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Race-ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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