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Neck Circumference Not Tied to Subclinical Atherosclerosis

THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Neck circumference (NC) is not associated with either coronary or carotid subclinical atherosclerosis, according to a study published online March 19 in Clinical Cardiology.

Yashashwi Pokharel, M.D., from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues measured NC (midway between the midcervical spine and midanterior neck) in 845 retired National Football League (NFL) players. Carotid ultrasound was used to identify carotid artery plaque (CAP).

The researchers found that 21 percent of participants had metabolic syndrome (MetS), while 62 and 56 percent, respectively, had coronary artery calcium (CAC) and CAP. Participants with MetS had a significantly higher median NC compared to those without MetS (P < 0.0001); however, NC was not associated with the presence of CAC or CAP even after adjusting for age, race, and cardiometabolic risk factors (odds ratios: 1.11 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.94 to 1.31] for CAC and 0.96 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.12] for CAP per one-standard deviation increase in NC [3.8 inches]). When the predictor variable was NC indexed to body mass index, results were similar.

"In retired NFL players with a high prevalence of CAC and CAP, NC was not associated with coronary or carotid subclinical atherosclerosis," the authors write. "NC may not be the most appropriate risk marker for atherosclerosis."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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