Racial Differences in Risks for First Cardiovascular Events and Noncardiovascular DeathCLINICAL PERSPECTIVE
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
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Background—No studies have compared first cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and non-CVD death between races in a competing risks framework, which examines risks for numerous events simultaneously.
Methods and Results—We used competing Cox models to estimate hazards for first CVD events and non-CVD death within and between races in 3 multicenter, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–sponsored cohorts. Of 14 569 Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study participants aged 45 to 64 years with mean follow-up of 10.5 years, 11.6% had CVD and 5.0% had non-CVD death as first events; among 4237 Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) study participants aged 65 to 84 years and followed for 8.5 years, these figures were 43.2% and 15.7%, respectively. Middle-aged blacks were significantly more likely than whites to experience any CVD as a first event; this disparity disappeared by older adulthood and after adjustment for CVD risk factors. The pattern of results was similar for Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants. Traditional Cox and competing risks models yielded different results for coronary heart disease risk. Black men appeared somewhat more likely than white men to experience coronary heart disease with use of a standard Cox model (hazard ratio 1.06; 95% CI 0.90, 1.26), whereas they appeared less likely than white men to have a first coronary heart disease event with use of a competing risks model (hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.60, 1.00).
Conclusions—CVD affects blacks at an earlier age than whites; this may be attributable in part to elevated CVD risk factor levels among blacks. Racial disparities in first CVD incidence disappear by older adulthood. Competing risks analyses may yield somewhat different results than traditional Cox models and provide a complementary approach to examining risks for first CVD events.
- Received July 20, 2011.
- Accepted May 2, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.