Association of cardiovascular health with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis progression among five racial and ethnic groups: The MASALA and MESA studies

Vardhmaan Jain, Mahmoud Al Rifai, Alka M. Kanaya, Nilay S. Shah, Sameera A. Talegawkar, Salim S. Virani, Erin D. Michos, Roger S. Blumenthal, Jaideep Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: South Asian adults (SA) are at higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) compared with other racial/ethnic groups. Life's Simple 7 (LS7) is a guideline-recommended, cardiovascular health (CVH) construct to guide optimization of cardiovascular risk factors. We sought to assess if the LS7 metrics predict coronary artery calcium (CAC) incidence and progression in asymptomatic SA compared with four other racial/ethnic groups. Methods: We assessed the distribution of CVH metrics (inadequate: score 0–8, average: 9–10, optimal: 11–14, and per 1-unit higher score) and its association with incidence and progression of CAC among South Asians in the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study compared with other race/ethnic groups from the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Results: We included 810 SA, 2622 Non-Hispanic White (NHW), and 4192 Other adults (collectively 1893 Black, 1496 Hispanic and 803 Chinese American participants, respectively). SA and White participants compared to Other race/ethnicity groups were more likely to have optimal CVH metrics (26% SA vs 28% White participants vs 21% Other, respectively, p < 0.001). Similar to NHW and the Other race/ethnic group, SA participants with optimal baseline CVH were less likely to develop incident CAC on follow-up evaluation compared to participants with inadequate CVH metrics, optimal CVH/CAC = 0: 24% SA, 28% NHW, and 15% Other (p < 0.01). In multivariable linear and logistic regression models, there was no difference in annualized CAC incidence or progression between each race/ethnic group (pinteraction = 0.85 and pinteraction = 0.17, respectively). Optimal blood pressure control was associated with lower CAC incidence among SA participants [OR (95% CI): 0.30 (0.14–0.63), p < 0.01] and Other race and ethnicity participants [0.32 (0.19–0.53), p < 0.01]. Conclusions: Optimal CVH metrics are associated with lower incident CAC and CAC progression among South Asians, similar to other racial groups/ethnicities. These findings underscore the importance of optimizing and maintaining CVH to mitigate the future risk of subclinical atherosclerosis in this higher risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117522
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Diabetes
  • Ethnic
  • Lipid
  • Prevention
  • Risk
  • South Asian


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