Socioeconomic status and aortic atherosclerosis in Dutch elderly people: The Rotterdam study

CTM van Rossum*, Dike van de Mheen, JCM Witteman, JP Mackenbach, DE Grobbee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


An inverse association has been reported between socioeconomic status (SES) and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Studies on subclinical manifestations of atherosclerotic disease are limited and have not been carried out among elderly persons. The authors investigated the relation between SES and aortic atherosclerosis among elderly people. As part of the Rotterdam Study, data on SES and atherosclerosis were collected for 4,451 persons aged 55-94 years. Atherosclerosis was estimated by radiographic assessment of calcified deposits in the abdominal aorta. Aortic atherosclerosis was more common among women in the lower educational and occupational strata. The lowest educational group and the lowest occupational group had increased risks of aortic atherosclerosis compared with the highest groups (odds ratios were 1.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-1.6) and 1.3 (95% CI 1.0-1.8), respectively). The odds ratios for severe atherosclerosis among women in the lowest socioeconomic stratum compared with those in the highest stratum were 1.6 (95% CI 1.0-2.7) for education, 2.8 (95% CI 1.1-7.5) for occupation, and 1.7 (95% CI 0.9-3.3) for income. After exclusion of persons with a history of cardiovascular disease, the same trends still emerged. No relations were observed among men. These findings show that SES is related to aortic atherosclerosis in women. This suggests that SES affects the incidence of cardiovascular disease before its clinical manifestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-148
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • aged
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • socioeconomic factors
  • RISK


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