The influence of obesity on the assessment of carotid intima-media thickness
Keywords: 
Intima-media
Carotid
Obesity
Body mass index
Cardiovascular risk
Issue Date: 
2012
Publisher: 
Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 
1097-0096
Citation: 
Gallego Perez-Larraya J, Irimia P, Martinez-Vila E, Barba J, Guembe MJ, Varo N, et al. The influence of obesity on the assessment of carotid intima-media thickness. J Clin Ultrasound 2012 Apr 17.
Abstract
BACKGROUND.: The assessment of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) may improve cardiovascular risk prediction. The optimal protocol for CIMT measurement is unclear. CIMT may be measured in the common carotid artery (CCA), carotid bifurcation (CB), and internal carotid artery (ICA), but measurements from CB and ICA are more difficult to obtain. We studied the influence of body mass index (BMI) and atheroma plaques on the capacity to obtain CIMT measurements at different carotid sites. METHODS.: Using an automatic system, CIMT was measured in 700 subjects aged 45-75, in the near and far walls of CCA, CB, and ICA bilaterally. The presence of atheroma plaques, BMI and vascular risk factors were recorded. RESULTS.: CIMT measurements in CCA were possible in all except one subject. It was not possible to obtain CIMT measurements at CB or ICA in 24.1% of normal weight and 58.8% of obese subjects. The likelihood of obtaining CIMT measurement at all carotid sites decreased as the BMI increased. Atheroma plaques in a carotid segment did not preclude CIMT measurement at this site. CONCLUSIONS.: CIMT measurements in distal carotid segments are more challenging in obese subjects. Measuring CIMT at CCA remains feasible in obese subjects and should be the primary endpoint in these subjects. Nevertheless, CB and ICA measurements, when feasible, would improve risk classification.

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