T2DM, family history of MI linked to plaque but not CCA-IMT
Carotid plaque and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) may share several risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), although type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and family history of myocardial infarction (MI) are more strongly related to plaque, a study suggests.
Researchers looked at 6,524 individuals (mean age 49.7 years; 49.2 percent male) enrolled in the population-based REFINE (Risk Evaluation For INfarct Estimates)-Reykjavik study. Plaques at the bifurcation and internal carotid arteries were evaluated, and mean CCA-IMT was measured in the near and far walls of the common carotid arteries.
Of the patients, 35 percent had minimal plaque, 8.9 percent moderate plaque and 1.1 percent severe plaque. The CCA-IMT was 0.73 mm on average.
The strongest risk factors for plaque were age, sex, smoking and T2DM. Other risk factors included systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, body mass index and family history of MI. Moreover, there was a strong and independent association between plaque and low educational level.
CCA-IMT had the similar risk factors. However, CCA-IMT showed a nonsignificant association with T2DM and family history of MI.
Specifically, the prevalence of plaque in participants with T2DM was twofold higher among those aged <50 years, and 17 to 30 percent greater among those aged 50 to 54 and 60 to 64 years. More significant plaques (moderate or severe) were more frequently identified in older individuals (≥60 percent) and less frequently in individuals aged 50 to 54 years (24 percent).
The data indicate that carotid plaque is prevalent in the study population, with the formation of moderate and severe carotid plaque markedly increasing in participants aged 50 years or older.
Moreover, the association observed between T2DM and family history of MI and carotid plaque but not CCA-IMT suggests that unlike plaque, CCA-IMT cannot be considered a clear evidence of atherosclerotic infiltration in the arterial wall, researchers said.