Common carotid artery intima-media thickness and the risk of stroke recurrence

Georgios Tsivgoulis, Konstantinos Vemmos, Christos Papamichael, Konstantinos Spengos, Efstathios Manios, Kimon Stamatelopoulos, Demetrios Vassilopoulos, Nikolaos Zakopoulos
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2006, 37 (7): 1913-6

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Increased common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) has been associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. We investigated the relationship between CCA-IMT and recurrent stroke in a cohort of ischemic stroke patients.

METHODS: High-resolution B-mode ultrasonographic measurements of the CCA-IMT were performed in a consecutive series of 238 patients hospitalized in our institution with first-ever ischemic stroke. Stroke risk factors and secondary prevention therapies were documented. Patients were followed-up prospectively and the outcome event of interest was recurrent stroke.

RESULTS: During a mean follow-up period of 28.9 months (range: 6 to 60 months), 27 recurrent strokes were documented. Patients who experienced recurrent cerebrovascular events had significantly (P=0.005) higher CCA-IMT values (1.01 mm, 95% CI:0.92 to 1.11 mm) than subjects who were free of stroke recurrence (0.88 mm, 95% CI:0.85 to 0.91 mm). After adjustment for baseline characteristics, risk factors and stroke subtypes and secondary prevention therapies increasing CCA-IMT was found to be an independent predictor of stroke recurrence. For each increment of 0.1 mm in CCA-IMT the probability of experiencing recurrent stroke increased by 18.0% (95% CI:2.0% to 36.0%, P=0.027).

CONCLUSIONS: Increased CCA-IMT values are associated with a higher risk of long-term stroke recurrence.

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