Objective: To examine the association between aortic arch calcification (AAC) and vascular disease in an older Chinese sample. Methods: For this study, 30,203 Chinese aged 50–85 years were recruited with baseline information on socioeconomic position, lifestyle and vascular risk factors. The presence and severity of AAC were diagnosed independently from chest X-ray by two radiologists. Results: The age-adjusted prevalence of AAC was significantly higher in women than men [34.6% (95% CI 33.9–35.3) vs. 27.9% (95% CI 26.8–28.8), p < 0.001]. Severity of AAC was significantly associated with physician-diagnosed ischemic heart disease (adjusted OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.35–1.79) and combined vascular disease (OR = 1.48, 95% CI 1.30–1.69) after adjusting for multiple potential confounders. Increasing severity of AAC was associated with increased risk for ischemic heart disease and vascular disease (p for trend = 0.02 to <0.001). No association between AAC and stroke was found. Conclusions: AAC was strongly and independently associated with vascular disease, suggesting that assessment of AAC from chest X-ray, which is noninvasive and relatively inexpensive, can provide useful information for risk stratification of vascular disease, and should be routinely incorporated in chest X-ray examination.

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