..Imaging detected short-term (3-year) atherosclerosis progression in 41.5% of participants (26.4% by 2DVUS, 21.3% by 3DVUS, and 11.5% by CACS), particularly in peripheral territories examined by vascular ultrasound. New atherosclerosis onset accounted for approximately one-third of total progression, also more frequently by 2DVUS and 3DVUS (29.1% and 16.6%, respectively), than by CACS (2.9%). Participants with baseline disease by all 3 modalities (n = 432) also showed significant atherosclerosis progression (median: 1 plaque [interquartile range (IQR): −1 to 3 plaques] by 2DVUS; 7.6 mm3 [IQR: −32.2 to 57.6 mm3] by 3DVUS; and 21.6 Agatston units [IQR: 4.8 to 62.6 Agatston units] by CACS). Age, sex, dyslipidemia, hypertension, smoking, and family history of premature cardiovascular disease contributed to progression, with dyslipidemia the strongest modifiable risk factor. Although disease progression correlated with cardiovascular risk, progression was detected in 36.5% of participants categorized as low risk.
Conclusions With this multimodal and multiterritorial approach, the authors detected short-term progression of early subclinical atherosclerosis in a substantial proportion (41.5%) of apparently healthy middle-aged men and women, more frequently by peripheral 2D/3DVUS than by CACS. Disease progression, as defined in this study, correlated with almost all cardiovascular risk factors and estimated risk.