Hispanics With Artery Buildup Have Greater Risk of Vascular Events Than Blacks, Whites, Study Finds
Hispanics who have just a small amount of plaque buildup in a particular artery in the neck are up to four times more likely than others with clear arteries to have or die from a stroke, heart attack or other vascular event, according to a study published in the current issue of Neurology, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports (HealthDay/US. News & World Report, 3/19). Blacks, whites and others with moderate buildup did not have the same risks (Norton, Reuters Health, 3/19).
The study involved nearly 2,200 adults who participated in the multiethnic Northern Manhattan Study in New York City (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 3/19). More than half of the participants were Hispanic (Reuters Health, 3/19). Through the use of ultrasound scans, study author Tatjana Rundek of the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and colleagues found that 58% of the participants had plaque buildup in their carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain. Twenty-five percent had maximum buildup (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 3/19). Hispanics were less likely to have plaque buildup than whites or blacks, but when they did have buildup, it appeared to be more severe than what was found in others, the study indicates (Reuters Health, 3/19).
Researchers followed up with the participants after seven years and found that 121 had or died of ischemic stroke, 118 had suffered or died of heart attack and 166 had died of other vascular events (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 3/19). In addition, Hispanics with a maximum plaque buildup had a greater risk of having a "vascular event" than those with less or no plaque buildup, according to the study.
Researchers did not find an explanation for Hispanics' increased risk of vascular events. According to Rundek, plaque could progress more quickly in Hispanics or their plaque buildup could be more susceptible to rupture (Reuters Health, 3/19).
"More research is needed ... to determine why Hispanics with even small amounts of carotid plaque are particularly susceptible to vascular events," Rundek said, adding, "These results are important for developing stroke and vascular prevention programs for all, but also for certain ethnic groups such as Hispanics, who represent the fastest-growing minority population in the U.S." (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 3/19).
An abstract of the study is available online.