Identifying coronary artery disease in asymptomatic middle-aged sportsmen: The additional value of pulse wave velocity

Thijs L. Braber, Niek H J Prakken, Arend Mosterd, Willem P Th M Mali, Pieter A F M Doevendans, Michiel L. Bots, Birgitta K. Velthuis

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Background: Cardiovascular screening may benefit middle-aged sportsmen, as coronary artery disease (CAD) is the main cause of exercise-related sudden cardiac death. Arterial stiffness, as measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), may help identify sportsmen with subclinical CAD. We examined the additional value of PWV measurements to traditional CAD risk factors for identifying CAD. Methods: From the Measuring Athlete's Risk of Cardiovascular events (MARC) cohort of asymptomatic, middle-aged sportsmen who underwent low-dose Cardiac CT (CCT) after routine sports medical examination (SME), 193 consecutive sportsmen (aged 55±6.6 years) were included with additional PWV measurements before CCT. Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of PWV values (>8.3 and >7.5m/s) assessed by Arteriograph were used to identify CAD (coronary artery calcium scoring ≥100 Agatston Units or coronary CT angiography luminal stenosis ≥50%) and to assess the additional diagnostic value of PWV to established cardiovascular risk factors. Results: Forty-seven sportsmen (24%) had CAD on CCT. They were older (58.9 vs. 53.8 years, p<0.001), had more hypertension (17 vs. 4%, p=0.003), higher cholesterol levels (5.7 vs. 5.4mmol/l) p=0.048), and more often were (ever) smokers (55 vs. 34%, p=0.008). Mean PWV was higher in those with CAD (8.9 vs. 8.0 m/s, p=0.017). For PWV >8.3m/s respectively >7.5m/s sensitivity to detect CAD on CT was 43% and 74%, specificity 69% and 45%, positive predictive value 31% and 30%, and negative predictive value 79% and 84%. Adding PWV to traditional risk factor models did not change the area under the curve (from 0.78 (95% CI = 0.709-0.848)) to AUC 0.78 (95% CI 0.710-0.848, p = 0.99)) for prediction of CAD on CCT. Conclusions: Limited additional value was found for PWV on top of established risk factors to identify CAD. PWV might still have a role to identify CAD in middle-aged sportsmen if risk factors such as cholesterol are unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0131895
JournalPLoS ONE [E]
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2015


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