Journal Article

Low Bone Mineral Density Is Related to Echogenic Carotid Artery Plaques: A Population-based Study

Lone Jørgensen, Oddmund Joakimsen, Gro K. Rosvold Berntsen, Ivar Heuch and Bjarne K. Jacobsen

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 6, pages 549-556
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Low Bone Mineral Density Is Related to Echogenic Carotid Artery Plaques:  A Population-based Study

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In a 1994–1995 cross-sectional, population-based study of 2,543 men and 2,726 postmenopausal women aged 55–74 years in Tromsø, Norway, the authors assessed a possible relation between bone mineral density (BMD) and the prevalence of carotid artery plaques, with an emphasis on plaque morphology. BMD measurements of the forearm and ultrasonography of the carotid artery were performed. Study participants were divided into quartiles with respect to sex-specific BMD values. Prevalent plaques were categorized into four groups ranging from low echogenicity to high echogenicity. For echogenic plaques, a significant inverse correlation with BMD was found (p for linear trend = 0.007 after adjustment for age, sex, and cardiovascular risk factors). For predominantly echogenic plaques, a similar but weaker association was indicated (p = 0.08); for predominantly echolucent and echolucent plaques, no significant associations were observed (p ≥ 0.3). Subjects whose BMD values were in the highest quartile had a statistically significant lower risk of echogenic plaques than subjects whose BMD values were in the lowest quartile (odds ratio = 0.51, 95% confidence interval: 0.31, 0.83). This study indicates that low bone mass is associated with an increased risk of echogenic calcified atherosclerotic plaques but not with a risk of echolucent plaques.

Keywords: arteriosclerosis; bone density; calcification, physiologic; carotid arteries; ultrasonography; Abbreviations: BMD, bone mineral density; CI, confidence interval.

Journal Article.  5640 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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