Intima-media thickening in patients with familial Mediterranean fever

Serdal Ugurlu, Emire Seyahi, Firat Cetinkaya, Fatma Ozbakir, Huriye Balci, Huri Ozdogan
Rheumatology 2009, 48 (8): 911-5

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of atherosclerotic plaques and intima-media thickness (IMT) in patients with FMF and suitable controls.

METHODS: We studied 100 (46 males, 54 females; mean age: 40 +/- 6 years) patients with FMF. Also 94 (15 males, 79 females; mean age: 41 +/- 7 years) patients with SLE and 103 (44 males, 59 females; mean age: 40 +/- 5 years) apparently healthy volunteers were included as the control groups. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by investigating atherosclerotic plaques and measuring IMT from carotid and common femoral arteries using B-mode ultrasonography (USG). Traditional atherosclerotic risk factors were also assessed.

RESULTS: Both FMF and SLE patients had significantly higher carotid (C-IMT) and femoral artery IMT (F-IMT) compared with healthy controls. This was also true after adjustment for atherosclerotic risk factors. Only patients with SLE were found to have higher frequency of atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid and in the carotid and/or femoral artery. When all atherosclerotic risk factors were adjusted, again only patients with SLE were found to have risk for atherosclerotic plaques. In FMF, whereas the presence of atherosclerotic plaques was only associated significantly with diabetes mellitus; C-IMT was correlated with age, BMI and fasting glucose; and F-IMT with age and BMI.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased atherosclerosis defined as the presence of plaques was not observed in patients with FMF. The significance of increased C- and F-IMT among patients with FMF must be further assessed.

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