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Ultrasound-assessed plaque occurrence in the carotid and femoral arteries are independent predictors of cardiovascular events in middle-aged men during 10 years of follow-up.

Journal article
Authors Lisa Davidsson
Björn Fagerberg
Göran Bergström
Caroline Schmidt
Published in Atherosclerosis
ISSN 1879-1484
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


OBJECTIVES: To examine if plaques in the carotid and femoral arteries were associated with cardiovascular events during a 10-year follow-up independently of usual risk factors for such diseases. METHODS: Plaque occurrence in both carotid arteries, and in the right femoral artery were assessed at baseline by B-mode ultrasound in a population-based sample of 58-year-old men (n=391) with no cardiovascular disease, and varying degrees of obesity and insulin sensitivity at entry. Anthropometry and blood pressure were recorded. Fasting venous blood samples were used for measurement of cardiovascular risk factors. Cardiovascular events occurring during follow-up were obtained by access to register data. RESULTS: Systolic blood pressure, serum triglycerides and waist-hip ratio as well as baseline occurrence of carotid and femoral plaques were associated with events. Logistic multi-variate analyses showed that carotid plaques (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.05-4.16, p=0.037), femoral plaques (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.01-3.91, p=0.047) and concomitant presence of carotid, and femoral plaques (OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.23-5.21, p=0.011) were associated with cardiovascular events independently of other risk factors. Plaques occurred in 0-3 arteries and there was a parallel increase in cardiovascular risk (p=0.004). CONCLUSION: Occurrence of carotid or femoral plaques at baseline had similar predictive value for cardiovascular events. Increased plaque burden, with plaques in both carotid and femoral arteries increased the cardiovascular risk further. Hence, the results from this study indicate that ultrasound examination of both the carotid and femoral arteries was the preferred method to predict cardiovascular risk.

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