Study of the intima-media thickening in carotid arteries of healthy elderly with high blood pressure and elderly with high blood pressure and dyslipidemia

Elizabete Viana de Freitas, Andréa Araújo Brandão, Roberto Pozzan, Maria Eliane Magãlhies, Márcia Castier, Airton Pires Brandão
Clinical Interventions in Aging 2008, 3 (3): 525-34

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to assess the mean intima-media thickening of carotid arteries of elderly subjects, and its relationship with age, anthropometric measurements, high systolic blood pressure and dyslipidemia.

METHODS: In this investigation, 129 subjects were enrolled between 1995 and 1998, age ranging from 29 to 94 years. They were assigned to one of 4 groups, including 2 control groups (group I, of healthy younger subjects; group II of healthy elderly subjects). Groups III and IV included those who presented with isolated systolic hypertension (ISH), and ISH and dyslipidemia, respectively. All subjects were submitted to a medical interview, lab tests with measurement of cholesterol levels, electrocardiogram, and carotid ultrasound. The ultrasound included measurement of the intima-media thickening (IMT) of the carotid arteries, the right carotid artery (RCA) and left carotid artery (LCA), and assessment of the presence of plaques. Blood fat and glucose were measured by a standard method. The results were compared among the groups through statistical tests. The tests employed were: Chi-Square, Pearson's and Likelihood Ratio, Student's t, Mann-Whitney; ANOVA followed by Tukey's test, Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric test, and test for multiple comparisons and Odds Ratio determination (OR).

RESULTS: In this investigation, a positive association was observed between aging and IMT. In relation to systolic hypertension, a significant association was observed with IMT (IMT-RCA p = 0.0034; IMT-LCAp = 0.0196; IMT-RLCAp = 0.0299), and with the presence of plaques (PlaqueR p = 0.0110; PlaqueL p = 0.0294; PlaqueRL p = 0.0040).

CONCLUSION: This investigation evidenced the important role of aging in IMT, and of systolic hypertension in the IMT and presence of plaque. However, further studies are needed for a better understanding of the actual role of risk factors in aging.

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