Background: Arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. A risk factor-independent association of arterial stiffness with traditional lipids has been described extensively, but it is still unclear whether an independent relationship exists between arterial stiffness and particles of lipoprotein subclasses.

Methods: The Baptist Employee Healthy Heart Study (BEHHS) is a lifestyle intervention study examining the effects of web-based programs on reducing CVD risk in high-risk persons. Participants had their brachial arterial augmentation index (AI, a measure arterial stiffness) assessed using the EndoPAT 2000 device. Cardio IQ™ ion mobility lipoprotein fractionation was utilized for measurement of particles of lipoprotein subclasses.

Results: The population consisted of 182 participants, (74% women, 49% Hispanic) with a mean age of 52 ± 9 years. There was a significant trend association between quartiles of AI and total cholesterol, HDL-c, large LDL-p, small IDL-p, large IDL-p, and all subclasses of HDL particles (total HDL-p, small HDL-p, and large HDL-p). In logistic regression analysis, only HDL-c, total LDL-p, large LDL-p, small IDL-p, large IDL-p, total HDL-p, small HDL-p, and large HDL-p demonstrated significant independent association with AI.

Conclusion: Several lipoprotein subclasses demonstrate independent significant associations with arterial stiffness. A safe and relatively inexpensive blood test may be useful in identifying subclinical atherosclerosis process in a relatively young high CVD risk population.

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