Ethnic differences in subclinical vascular function in South Asians, Whites, and African Americans in the United States

Unjali P. Gujral, Anurag Mehta, Salman Sher, Irina Uphoff, Saket Kumar, Salim S. Hayek, Yi An Ko, Greg S. Martin, Gary H. Gibbons, Arshed A. Quyyumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: South Asians are a high-risk ethnic group for cardiovascular disease despite having lower levels of conventional cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and smoking. Ethnic differences in pulse wave reflections, arterial stiffness, and subclinical atherosclerosis as measured using augmentation index (AIX), pulse wave velocity (PWV), and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) may reflect some of this excess risk. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of pooled data from three community-based sources in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Data on 530 South Asians collected from local health fairs was compared with data on 507 White and 192 African Americans from the Emory Predictive Health Initiative and 351 White and 382 African Americans from the Morehouse and Emory Team up to Eliminate Health Disparities Study. Results: Linear regression models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, MAP, fasting glucose, TC, HDL-C, creatinine, and body mass index were used to assess the relationship between ethnicity and vascular function measures. In fully adjusted models, South Asians had higher heart rate corrected AIX as compared with Whites and African Americans (by 5.47%, p < 0.01 and 3.50%, p < 0.01; respectively), but lower PWV (by 0.51 m/s, p < 0.01 and 0.72 m/s, p < 0.01; respectively) and lower CIMT (by 0.02 mm p = 0.03 and 0.04 mm p < 0.01; respectively). Conclusions: Systemic pulse wave reflections, independent of other risk factors, are higher in South Asians as compared with Whites and African Americans. Future research is needed to determine whether higher AIX explains the increased cardiovascular risk among South Asians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100598
JournalIJC Heart and Vasculature
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Augmentation index
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Ethnicity
  • Pulse wave velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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