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      Carotid plaque compared with intima-media thickness as a predictor of coronary and cerebrovascular disease

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      Current Cardiology Reports

      Springer Nature

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          Carotid-artery intima and media thickness as a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke in older adults. Cardiovascular Health Study Collaborative Research Group.

          The combined thickness of the intima and media of the carotid artery is associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. We studied the associations between the thickness of the carotid-artery intima and media and the incidence of new myocardial infarction or stroke in persons without clinical cardiovascular disease. Noninvasive measurements of the intima and media of the common and internal carotid artery were made with high-resolution ultrasonography in 5858 subjects 65 years of age or older. Cardiovascular events (new myocardial infarction or stroke) served as outcome variables in subjects without clinical cardiovascular disease (4476 subjects) over a median follow-up period of 6.2 years. The incidence of cardiovascular events correlated with measurements of carotid-artery intima-media thickness. The relative risk of myocardial infarction or stroke increased with intima-media thickness (P<0.001). The relative risk of myocardial infarction or stroke (adjusted for age and sex) for the quintile with the highest thickness as compared with the lowest quintile was 3.87 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.72 to 5.51). The association between cardiovascular events and intima-media thickness remained significant after adjustment for traditional risk factors, showing increasing risks for each quintile of combined intima-media thickness, from the second quintile (relative risk, 1.54; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.04 to 2.28), to the third (relative risk, 1.84; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.26 to 2.67), fourth (relative risk, 2.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.38 to 2.91), and fifth (relative risk, 3.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.19 to 4.52). The results of separate analyses of myocardial infarction and stroke paralleled those for the combined end point. Increases in the thickness of the intima and media of the carotid artery, as measured noninvasively by ultrasonography, are directly associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke in older adults without a history of cardiovascular disease.
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            Prediction of clinical cardiovascular events with carotid intima-media thickness: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

            Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is increasingly used as a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis. Its use relies on its ability to predict future clinical cardiovascular end points. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of data to examine this association. Using a prespecified search strategy, we identified 8 relevant studies and compared study design, measurement protocols, and reported data. We identified sources of heterogeneity between studies. The assumption of a linear relationship between IMT and risk was challenged by use of a graphical technique. To obtain a pooled estimate of the relative risk per IMT difference, we performed a meta-analysis based on random effects models. The age- and sex-adjusted overall estimates of the relative risk of myocardial infarction were 1.26 (95% CI, 1.21 to 1.30) per 1-standard deviation common carotid artery IMT difference and 1.15 (95% CI, 1.12 to 1.17) per 0.10-mm common carotid artery IMT difference. The age- and sex-adjusted relative risks of stroke were 1.32 (95% CI, 1.27 to 1.38) per 1-standard deviation common carotid artery IMT difference and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.16 to 1.21) per 0.10-mm common carotid artery IMT difference. Major sources of heterogeneity were age distribution, carotid segment definition, and IMT measurement protocol. The relationship between IMT and risk was nonlinear, but the linear models fitted relatively well for moderate to high IMT values. Carotid IMT is a strong predictor of future vascular events. The relative risk per IMT difference is slightly higher for the end point stroke than for myocardial infarction. In future IMT studies, ultrasound protocols should be aligned with published studies. Data for younger individuals are limited and more studies are required.
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              Association of coronary heart disease incidence with carotid arterial wall thickness and major risk factors: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, 1987-1993.

              Few studies have determined whether greater carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in asymptomatic individuals is associated prospectively with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, carotid IMT, an index of generalized atherosclerosis, was defined as the mean of IMT measurements at six sites of the carotid arteries using B-mode ultrasound. The authors assessed its relation to CHD incidence over 4-7 years of follow-up (1987-1993) in four US communities (Forsyth County, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Washington County, Maryland) from samples of 7,289 women and 5,552 men aged 45-64 years who were free of clinical CHD at baseline. There were 96 incident events for women and 194 for men. In sex-specific Cox proportional hazards models adjusted only for age, race, and center, the hazard rate ratio comparing extreme mean IMT (> or = 1 mm) to not extreme (< 1 mm) was 5.07 for women (95% confidence interval 3.08-8.36) and 1.85 for men (95% confidence interval 1.28-2.69). The relation was graded (monotonic), and models with cubic splines indicated significant nonlinearity. The strength of the association was reduced by including major CHD risk factors, but remained elevated at higher IMT. Up to 1 mm mean IMT, women had lower adjusted annual event rates than did men, but above 1 mm their event rate was closer to that of men. Thus, mean carotid IMT is a noninvasive predictor of future CHD incidence.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Current Cardiology Reports
                Curr Cardiol Rep
                Springer Nature
                1523-3782
                1534-3170
                January 2009
                December 16 2008
                January 2009
                : 11
                : 1
                : 21-27
                Article
                10.1007/s11886-009-0004-1
                © 2009
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