Introduction The incidence of vascular disease varies across different ethnic groups. People of South Asian (SA) origin have excess coronary disease (CHD) and diabetes, African-Caribbeans (AfC) less CHD despite more subjects having high blood pressure and diabetes than white Europeans (WE), which is poorly explained by standard risk factors. Having a simply measured intermediate outcome marker would be a considerable advance. Aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) is known to predict cardiovascular events and mortality but little is known of how it reflects risk across diverse ethnic groups.
Methods Community-based, volunteer AfC, SA and WE men aged 40–80 years were specifically invited from the larger numbers in the entire EMAS. Aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) was measured by arteriography.
Results AfC (n=61, age: 53±10 years) had a lower aPWV (7.42±1.5 m/s) than SA (n=56, age: 56±10 years, aPWV: 8.16±1.4 m/s) and WE (n=40, age: 58±8 years, aPWV: 8.06±1.1 m/s). This is despite higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) in AfC (129±16 mm Hg) than SA (123±14 mm Hg, p=0.026) and WE (125±12 mm Hg, p=0.1). the prevalence of diabetes was highest among the SA group (34%), followed by AfC (7%) and WE (0%). In multivariate analysis, aPWV in AfC was 0.69 m/s lower than SA (p=0.002), and 0.65 m/s than WE (p=0.006) adjusting for age, SBP, heart rate, diabetes status and body mass index.
Conclusion Differences in aPWV across ethnic groups here broadly reflect national patterns of cardiovascular morbidity/mortality. aPWV should be a useful target for intervention, in addition to SBP, across these groups.