Relevance of common carotid intima-media thickness and carotid plaque as risk factors for ischemic stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

E J Lee, H J Kim, J M Bae, J C Kim, H J Han, C S Park, N H Park, M S Kim, J A Ryu
AJNR. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2007, 28 (5): 916-9

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: An increase in the common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) is generally considered an early marker of atherosclerosis. This cross-sectional study assessed the CCA-IMT and plaque score as vascular risk factors in patients with ischemic stroke and type 2 diabetes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Brain MR imaging and carotid ultrasonography were performed in 133 subjects with type 2 diabetes. IMT was measured at both CCAs. Differences in the variables between case and control subjects were compared statistically. To determine the independent factors related to CCA-IMT and plaque score, we performed stepwise multiple regression analysis.

RESULTS: Sex, current smoking habit, history of hypertension, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels differed significantly between the case and control groups. CCA-IMT and plaque score in patients with diabetes and acute ischemic stroke were significantly greater than in patients with diabetes who were stroke-free. The crude odds ratios suggested that CCA-IMT and plaque score are risk factors of acute ischemic stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, when we adjusted for cerebrovascular risk factors, CCA-IMT and plaque score did not remain significantly associated with acute ischemic stroke.

CONCLUSION: Increased CCA-IMT and plaque score are associated with acute ischemic stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes. The higher CCA-IMT and plaque score found in ischemic stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes seem to be induced by cerebrovascular risk factors. Therefore, to prevent ischemic stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes, strict control of hyperglycemia, hypertension, smoking, and low HDL, together with monitoring of CCA-IMT and carotid plaque, may be important.

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