Objective: Heart disease is the leading cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths. The study objectives were to identify early atherosclerotic disease through ultrasound measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and risk factors predicting increased CIMT and carotid plaque.
Methods: Following ultrasound evaluation of 597 Phoenix and Tucson firefighters, logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for mean CIMT greater than 75th percentile and for carotid plaque.
Results: Age, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) of 100 mg/dL or more, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significant independent predictors of increased CIMT. Age, hypertension, LDL-C, and plasma soluble P-selectin were significant predictors of carotid plaque.
Conclusions: This study supports an emphasis on traditional risk factors for atherosclerotic disease in firefighters, in particular maintaining LDL-C less than 100 mg/dL. Plasma soluble P-selectin may help identify firefighters at increased risk for carotid plaque.
From the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (Drs Burgess and Peate, Ms Kurzius-Spencer), University of Arizona, Tucson, Banner Health Center (Dr Gerkin), and City of Phoenix Fire Department Health Center (Dr Fleming), Phoenix, Ariz; and University of California at San Diego (Dr Allison), San Diego, Calif.
Address correspondence to: Jefferey L. Burgess, MD, MS, MPH, University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, 1295 N Martin Ave, Tucson, AZ 85724 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The study was supported by FEMA grant EMW-2007-FP-01499. The authors declare no financial, consultant, institutional, or other conflicts of interest.