Achilles tendons are the most common sites of tendon xanthomas that are commonly caused by disturbance of lipid metabolism. Achilles tendon thickening is the early characteristic of Achilles tendon xanthomas. The relationship between Achilles tendon thickness (ATT) and LDL-C levels, and risk factors of ATT in patients with hypercholesterolemia, have thus far been poorly documented.
A total of 205 individuals, aged 18-75 years, were enrolled from March 2014 to March 2015. According to the LDL-C levels and the “Chinese Guidelines on Prevention and Treatment of Dyslipidemia in Adults”, all subjects were divided into 3 groups: normal group (LDL-C < 3.37 mmol/L, n = 51); borderline LDL-C group (3.37 mmol/L ≤ LDL-C ≤ 4.12 mmol/L, n = 50); and hypercholesterolemia group (LDL ≥ 4.14 mmol/L, n = 104). ATT was measured using a standardized digital radiography method and the results were compared among the 3 groups. The correlation between ATT and serum LDL-C levels was analyzed by Pearson’s correlation, and the risk factors of ATT were determined by the logistic regression model.
ATT in borderline LDL-C group was 8.24 ± 1.73 mm, markedly higher than 6.05 ± 0.28 mm of normal group (P < 0.05). ATT in hypercholesterolemia group was 9.42 ± 3.63 mm which was significantly higher than that of normal group (P < 0.005) and that of borderline LDL-C group (P < 0.05). There was a positive correlation between the serum LDL-C levels and ATT (r = 0.346, P < 0.001). The serum LDL-C level was a risk factor (OR = 1.871, 95% CI: 1.067-3.280) while the levels of HDL-C (OR = 0.099, 95% CI: 0.017-0.573) and Apo AI (OR = 0.035, 95% CI: 0.003-0.412) were protective factors of ATT.
ATT might serve as a valuable auxiliary diagnostic index for hypercholesterolemia and used for the assessment and management of cardiovascular disease.