Association of coagulation factors and inhibitors with carotid artery atherosclerosis early results of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Kenneth K. Wu, Aaron R. Folsom, Gerardo Heiss, C. E. Davis, Maureen G. Conlan, Ralph Barnes

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69 Scopus citations


Several population studies have shown that plasma levels of fibrinogen and factor VII are significantly associated with ischemic cardiovascular events. However, there is little information regarding the association of hemostatic factors with early atherosclerosis. To evaluate this, we compared the plasma concentrations of several coagulation proteins (fibrinogen, factor VII, factor VIII, von Willebrand factor, protein C, and antithrombin III) between 385 case patients, defined by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography as having carotid arterial wall thickening, and 385 age-, race-, and sex-matched control subjects, These case patients and control subjects were selected from participants in a prospective population investigation, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, who were examined between May 1987 and May 1989. Plasma fibrinogen, factor VII, protein C, and antithrombin III levels were significantly higher in case patients than in control subjects (P < 0.05). Factor VIII and von Willebrand factor were not different. These findings were supported by quartile distribution and univariate analysis. However, only fibrinogen remained significantly associated with carotid atherosclerosis on multivariate analysis taking other atherosclerosis risk factors into consideration. A one standard deviation increase in fibrinogen (67 mg/dL) was associated with a 1.6-fold increase in the odds of carotid atherosclerosis univariately (P < 0.001) and with a 1.3-fold increase in the odds multivariately (P = 0.010). Further analysis revealed that the association of fibrinogen with carotid atherosclerosis was somewhat stronger in cigarette smokers than in nonsmokers. This early case-control analysis of the ARIC Study demonstrates a significant association between plasma fibrinogen concentration and early atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries. In the context of published findings from population studies, our results indicate that plasma fibrinogen concentrations may be a useful marker for identifying individuals at high risk of developing arterial thrombotic disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1992


  • ARIC Study
  • Fibrinogen
  • antithrombin III
  • coagulation factors
  • factor VII
  • factor VIII
  • hemostasis
  • protein C
  • von Willebrand factor


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