Age-Related Differences in the Contribution of Systolic Blood Pressure and Biomarkers to Cardiovascular Disease Risk Prediction: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

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American Journal of Cardiology


We sought to determine how biomarkers known to be associated with hypertension-induced end-organ injury complement the use of systolic blood pressure (SBP) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction at different ages. Using data from visits 2 (1990 to 1992) and 5 (2011 to 2013) of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, 3 models were used to predict CVD (composite of coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure). Model A included traditional risk factors (TRFs) except SBP, model B—TRF plus SBP, and model C—TRF plus biomarkers (high-sensitivity troponin T [hsTnT] and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide [NT-proBNP]). Harrel's C-statistics were used to assess risk discrimination for CVD comparing models B and A and C and B. At visit 2, the addition of SBP to TRF (model B vs model A) significantly improved the C-statistic (∆C-statistic, 95% confidence interval 0.010, 0.007 to 0.013) whereas the addition of hsTnT to TRF (model C vs model B) decreased the C-statistic (∆C-statistic −0.0038, −0.0075 to −0.0001) compared with SBP. At visit 5, the addition of SBP to TRF did not significantly improve the C-statistic (∆C-statistic 0.001, −0.002 to 0.005) whereas the addition of both hsTnT and NT-proBNP to TRF significantly improved the C-statistic compared with SBP (∆C-statistic 0.028, 0.015 to 0.041 and 0.055, 0.036 to 0.074, respectively). In summary, the incremental value of SBP for CVD risk prediction diminishes with age whereas the incremental value of hsTnT and NT-proBNP increases with age.

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