Association between increasing levels of hemoglobin A1c and coronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic individuals without diabetes mellitus

Juan J. Rivera, Eue Keun Choi, Yeonyee E. Yoon, Eun Ju Chun, Sang Il Choi, Khurram Nasir, Frederick L. Brancati, Roger S. Blumenthal, Hyuk Jae Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Earlier studies have shown an association between high-normal glucose and increasing glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and cardiovascular events. The objective of this investigation was to study the association between increasing levels of HbA1c in asymptomatic individuals without diabetes mellitus (DM) and coronary plaque characteristics. Methods: The study population consisted of 1043 asymptomatic Korean individuals without DM who underwent 64-slice cardiac computed tomography angiography as part of a health screening evaluation. We excluded 147 individuals with known history of DM and/or fasting glucose of at least 126 mg/dl, no HbA1c data, or missing risk factor information. The associations between coronary atherosclerosis and plaque subtype burden with increasing HbA1c levels were assessed using multivariable regression analyses. Results: The final study population consisted of 906 individuals without DM (mean age: 49±9 years, 62% males); 19 and 9% of the population had any and two or more segments with coronary plaque, respectively. Unadjusted analysis showed a positive association between increasing levels of HbA1c and the number of coronary segments with any (P<0.001) and with mixed coronary plaques (P<0.0001). The association persisted even when traditional risk factors were taken into account. No significant relationship was found between increasing HbA1c levels and the burden of noncalcified or calcified plaque. Conclusion: Increasing levels of HbA1c in asymptomatic individuals without DM are associated with the presence of coronary atherosclerosis, but more specifically with the presence and burden of mixed coronary plaques. Elements of plaque instability have been associated with mixed coronary plaques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalCoronary artery disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2010



  • Computed tomography
  • Coronary atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Glycosylated hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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