A cross-sectional study of intima-media thickness, ethnicity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular risk in 2268 study participants. Academic Article uri icon


  • To describe the association between intima-media thickness (IMT) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) and to examine if the addition of IMT to a traditional MetS definition adds value to the assessment of predicted cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in a large multiethnic population.In this cross-sectional study, carotid IMT was measured in 2268 men and women as part of a wellness physical examination between August 1, 2000, and October 1, 2001. The wellness examination included a fasting lipid panel, physical examination, and medical history. Mean IMT was described by sex, ethnicity, and the MetS. Predicted risk for CVD was determined with IMT as a component of the diagnostic criteria for MetS.Intima-media thickness increased with each additional component of the MetS, increasing from 0.516 mm for 0 components to 0.688 mm for 4 or more components (P<.001). In each ethnic group (non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians), those with the MetS had higher mean IMT (increased by 0.084 mm to 0.134 mm) than those without MetS. The addition of IMT as a "new" component in the diagnosis of MetS allowed us to identify 78 (3.4%) participants who were not previously diagnosed as having MetS but who had a high 10-year estimated risk of MetS as measured by the Framingham risk score (11.67%).The addition of IMT to the traditional criteria for the diagnosis of the MetS may help identify individuals who otherwise would not have been identified to be at high risk of CVD.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009