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Triglyceride level is associated with wave reflections and arterial stiffness in apparently healthy middle-aged men


Objective: To investigate the relationship of arterial stiffness and wave reflections, which are predictors of cardiovascular risk, with serum triglyceride level in healthy adults.

Design: Cross-sectional study at the University Department of Cardiology. 213 healthy individuals (141 men and 72 premenopausal women) not taking any medication and without known cardiovascular disease and risk factors, except for smoking.

Main outcome measures: Central (aortic) augmentation index (AIx, a composite measure of arterial stiffness and wave reflections), fasting lipid profile (including triglycerides) and 10-year Framingham Risk Score (FRS).

Results: Compared with women, men had higher serum triglyceride level (median (interquartile range) (89 (67–117) vs 73 (54–96) mg/dl, p<0.01) and lower AIx (17.7 (1.0) vs 26.3 (1.4), p<0.001). In both genders, serum triglyceride levels were significantly associated with FRS (men: r = 0.43, p<0.001; women: r = 0.37, p<0.01) and AIx (men: r = 0.21, p<0.05; women: r = 0.26, p<0.05). In men, multivariate linear regression analysis showed an association between triglyceride level and AIx (standardised β coefficient = 0.19, p = 0.009), independent of age, blood pressure, heart rate, height, weight, smoking habits, total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol levels. On the other hand, in women, the unadjusted correlation between triglyceride level and AIx was largely explained when the abovementioned confounders were taken into account (β = −0.016, p = 0.86).

Conclusion: In healthy men, serum triglyceride levels are associated with indices of arterial stiffness and wave reflections, which are important determinants of cardiovascular function and risk. The role of triglycerides in the vascular function of women warrants further investigation.

  • AIx, augmentation index
  • FRS, Framingham Risk Score
  • HDL, high-density lipoprotein
  • TGL, triglyceride

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