Atherosclerosis in Takayasu arteritis

E Seyahi, S Ugurlu, R Cumali, H Balci, N Seyahi, S Yurdakul, H Yazici
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2006, 65 (9): 1202-7

OBJECTIVE: Chronic inflammatory diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis are associated with accelerated atherosclerosis. We hypothesised that atherosclerosis may also be increased in Takayasu arteritis.

METHODS: The frequency of atherosclerotic plaques and the intima-media thickness (IMT) were investigated in 30 female patients with Takayasu arteritis (mean age (standard deviation), 35.4 (8.0) years), along with 45 sex-matched and age-matched patients with SLE (37.4 (6.8)) and 50 healthy controls (38.2 (5.7)). Plaques were scanned and IMT was measured at both sides of the common carotids, carotid bulb, and internal and external carotid arteries by B-mode ultrasonography. Traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis were also assessed.

RESULTS: Most of the atherosclerotic risk factors were comparable between patients with Takayasu arteritis and SLE. More atherosclerotic plaques were observed among patients with Takayasu arteritis (8/30; 27%) and those with SLE (8/45; 18%) than among the healthy controls (1/50; 2%; p = 0.005). Logistic regression analyses showed that the presence of a plaque was associated only with age in both Takayasu arteritis and SLE (p = 0.04 and 0.02, respectively). The mean overall IMT was significantly higher among patients with Takayasu arteritis (0.95+/-0.31 mm) than among the patients with SLE (0.58+/-0.10 mm) and the healthy controls (0.59+/-0.08 mm; p<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Patients with Takayasu arteritis have a high rate of atherosclerotic plaques, at least as frequent as that observed among patients with SLE.

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