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.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com).
The study was supported by FEMA grant EMW-2007-FP-01499. The authors declare no financial, consultant, institutional, or other conflicts of interest.