Background: We previously reported the arterial elasticity value we measured to reflect the characteristic features of vessel walls, and to possibly be useful for detecting early stage atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes. Obesity, especially visceral adiposity, is well known to play a crucial role in the development of metabolic disorders and atherosclerosis. To assess whether arterial elasticity value reflects the effect of obesity on atherosclerosis, we examined the associations of obesity characteristics with atherosclerosis values including arterial elasticity, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and pulse wave velocity (PWV). Methods: Three atherosclerosis values were measured in 78 obese subjects (body mass index ≥30). We investigated the associations of atherosclerosis values with obesity-related parameters including abdominal fat accumulation determined by computed tomography. Results: Arterial elasticity values were positively related to established atherosclerosis values, carotid IMT and PWV, in obese subjects. Age, systolic blood pressure and hypertension also correlated with these atherosclerosis values. Single regression analysis showed all three atherosclerosis values to correlate significantly with visceral fat area. Intriguingly, visceral fat area is an independent variable affecting arterial elasticity, but not IMT or PWV. Furthermore, multiple regression analysis revealed that arterial elasticity correlates strongly with visceral fat area. Conclusions: Arterial elasticity value we measure is a new parameter for evaluating atherosclerosis in subjects with visceral adiposity and more sensitive than the currently established atherosclerosis values, carotid IMT and PWV. Measuring arterial elasticity has the potential to reveal minute vascular changes, and may have broad clinical applications for evaluating early stage atherosclerosis. © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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