The presence of echolucent carotid plaques as defined by low ultrasound grey-scale median (GSM) is associated with a higher risk of stroke and myocardial infarction. Betablockers have shown possible anti-atherosclerotic effects. The aim of the present study was to determine if there is an association between carotid plaque GSM and treatment with betablockers.
The GSM of the carotid plaques of 350 patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for asymptomatic (n = 113) or symptomatic (n = 237) carotid disease was measured. Patients were divided in two groups based on the absence/presence of an on-going long-term ( i.e. at least 6 months) oral treatment with betablockers at the time of CEA.
The prevalence and type of preoperative neurological symptoms were similar in the two groups. Patients with betablockers had more frequently arterial hypertension (P < .0001), diabetes (P = .035) and a higher BMI (P = .0004), while patients without betablockers were most frequently smokers (P = .017).
Patients with betablockers revealed to have higher GSM (37.79 ± 25 vs 32.61 ± 23.50 P = .036). Echogenic plaques (i.e. with GSM > 30) showed to be more frequent in patients with betablockers also after correction for age, gender, the occurrence of preoperative symptoms, diabetes, hypertension, smoking and statins use (P = .024).