COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Association between conventional risk factors and different ultrasound-based markers of atherosclerosis at carotid and femoral levels in a middle-aged population

Patrick Yerly, Nicolas Rodondi, Barathi Viswanathan, Walter Riesen, Pierre Vogt, Pascal Bovet
International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging 2013, 29 (3): 589-99
23015308
Ultrasound detection of sub-clinical atherosclerosis (ATS) may help identify individuals at high cardiovascular risk. Most studies evaluated intima-media thickness (IMT) at carotid level. We compared the relationships between main cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) and five indicators of ATS (IMT, mean and maximal plaque thickness, mean and maximal plaque area) at both carotid and femoral levels. Ultrasound was performed on 496 participants aged 45-64 years randomly selected from the general population of the Republic of Seychelles. 73.4 % participants had ≥ 1 plaque (IMT thickening ≥ 1.2 mm) at carotid level and 67.5 % at femoral level. Variance (adjusted R2) contributed by age, sex and CVRF (smoking, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes) in predicting any of the ATS markers was larger at femoral than carotid level. At both carotid and femoral levels, the association between CVRF and ATS was stronger based on plaque-based markers than IMT. Our findings show that the associations between CVRF and ATS markers were stronger at femoral than carotid level, and with plaque-based markers rather than IMT. Pending comparison of these markers using harder cardiovascular endpoints, our findings suggest that markers based on plaque morphology assessed at femoral artery level might be useful cardiovascular risk predictors.

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