The Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) study is designed to assess the impact of police work on subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Our objective was to compare subclinical CVD markers between police officers (n ¼ 312, mean age 42.9 years) and a population sample (n ¼ 318, mean age 55.1 years) of men and women free of clinical CVD. We used B-mode ultrasound to measure carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Adequate overlap in age distributions between groups allowed for ageadjustment in subsequent analyses. Compared to controls, officers had elevated age-adjusted CVD risk factor levels (blood pressure, total cholesterol, smoking prevalence). In multiple linear regression models, officers exhibited more adverse subclinical CVD compared to controls; mean common CIMT (police ¼ 0.66mm, controls ¼ 0.64mm, p ¼ 0.03), mean maximum CIMT (police ¼ 0.85mm, controls ¼ 0.81mm, p ¼ 0.03), and FMD (police ¼ 5.60%, controls ¼ 6.27%, p ¼ 0.15), after adjustment for age, gender, and CVD risk factors (body mass index, education, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, and depression). Restricting controls to employed participants only, to reduce healthy worker bias, led to similar results. In this study, officers showed increased subclinical CVD compared to a population sample. These differences could not be fully explained by traditional CVD risk factors, and implicate other pathways whereby stressful law enforcement work may increase CVD risk.
American Journal of Epidemiology; 41st Annual Meeting Society for Epidemiologic Research Chicago, Illinois, June 24-27, 2008