Comparison of carotid arterial resistive indices with intima-media thickness as sonographic markers of atherosclerosis

B Frauchiger, H P Schmid, C Roedel, P Moosmann, D Staub
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2001, 32 (4): 836-41

UNLABELLED: Background and Purpose-The intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid artery is a (morphological) sonographic parameter that depends on the degree of atherosclerosis. In the renal arteries, the value of the (hemodynamic) resistive index (RI) is correlated with the severity of atherosclerosis. In contrast to the well-known IMT, no study has yet applied the carotid RI to estimate generalized atherosclerosis.

METHODS: -The SMART atherosclerosis risk score was determined in 157 patients (94 men and 63 women; mean age 63 [range 19 to 80] years) with at least 1 vascular risk factor or a known vascular disease. Duplex sonography of the common carotid (CCA) and internal carotid artery (ICA) was then performed, with determination of IMT and RI.

RESULTS: -The mean risk score of all patients was 8.8+/-3.5 (range 1 to 17), the mean IMT value in the CCA was 0.727+/-0.161 mm, the mean RI in CCA was 0.79+/-0.066, and the mean RI in ICA was 0.661+/-0.082. Highly significant correlations were found between the score and IMT CCA and the score and RI ICA (r=0.62, P:<0.0001 and r=0.55, P:<0.0001). The score-RI CCA correlation was much less marked (r=0.354, P:<0.0001). The intraobserver and interobserver agreement was less for IMT than for RI CCA and ICA. The areas under the curve of the receiver operating curves to distinguish between low-risk and high-risk patients resulted in values of 0.86, 0.81, and 0.69 for IMT, RI ICA, and RI CCA, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: -Although RI reflects the atherosclerotic process in an indirect manner, the correlation between the RI ICA and the SMART atherosclerosis score as well as the ability to distinguish between low- and high-risk patients are comparable to those of the well-known IMT.

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