, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 854-862
Date: 03 Apr 2008

Systemic Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Are Morbidly Obese Subjects Different?

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Abstract

Background

Systemic inflammation is a hallmark of obesity as well as of other chronic diseases, usually indicating increased cardiovascular risk; however, studies with arterial documentation in morbid obesity are extremely scarce. Aiming to analyze correlation between inflammatory markers, pulse-wave velocity (PWV), and intima-media thickness (IMT), a prospective study was designed.

Methods

Morbidly obese patients [n = 29, age 46.3 ± 5.2 years, 82.8% females (24/29), BMI 44.9 ± 5.2 kg/m2] with C-reactive protein/CRP > 5 mg/l but free from trauma, infection, inflammation, or cancer were enrolled in this study. All were clinically stable candidates for elective bariatric operation. Variables included comorbidities, metabolic profile, inflammatory and coagulatory markers, and arterial morpho-functional indices.

Results

Patients suffered from arterial hypertension (72.4%), metabolic syndrome (58.6%), and other comorbidities, but PWV and IMT were less aberrant than expected. Univariate correlation confirmed worse prognosis for those with metabolic syndrome and other accepted clinical risk factors. Multivariate confirmation was achieved for triglycerides (PWV) and D-dimer (IMT), but not for CRP, serum amyloid A, or neutrophil count, which were reversed in certain circumstances.

Conclusions

(1) Metabolic syndrome, hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia and D-dimer were positively correlated with arterial measurements, whereas inflammatory and coagulatory markers often exhibited paradoxical association; (2) stratification confirmed that at certain levels of systemic inflammation or body mass index, acute phase proteins and other markers became unreliable or shifted signals; (3) when controlled for blood pressure, PWV was only moderately elevated, and IMT remained normal; (4) taken together, these findings are consistent with a unique interaction between adiposity, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk in seriously obese subjects.