The ultrasonic evaluation of the carotid intima-media thickness and its relation to risk factors of atherosclerosis in normal and diabetic population

N el-Barghouti, R Elkeles, A Nicolaides, G Geroulakos, S Dhanjil, J Diamond
International Angiology: a Journal of the International Union of Angiology 1997, 16 (1): 50-4
High-resolution ultrasound provides an excellent tool for the non-invasive assessment of the severity of atherosclerosis. It allows the measurement of the common carotid artery (CCA) intima media thickness (IMT) which has been found to be a feasible and reliable method for the evaluation of the progression and regression of the disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of risk factors of atherosclerosis on the mean CCA IMT in both normal and non-insulin dependent diabetic (NIDDM) individuals and to determine the effect of diabetes as a major atherosclerotic risk factor on the CCA IMT. Four hundred and eighty-four subjects were studied, 244 normal individuals and 240 non insulin dependent diabetic patients. The right and left CCA IMT were measured using high resolution ultrasonography. Both in the normal and diabetic individuals, the mean CCA IMT was found to increase linearly with age (p < 0.01), was directly related to total serum cholesterol and triglyceride and inversely related to HDL-cholesterol (p < 0.01). Multiple linear regression analysis showed the most important risk factor influencing the CCA IMT and hence early athrosclerosis to be the presence of diabetes, followed by serum HDL-cholesterol (inverse relation), total cholesterol, age and serum triglyceride. This study has shown that high resolution ultrasonography can be used to evaluate the effect to risk factors on early atherosclerosis and could be used to monitor future clinical trails aiming to modify the progression of atherosclerosis in the population.

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