The natural history of carotid arterial disease in asymptomatic patients with cervical bruits.
A prospective study was initiated in January 1980 to follow with Duplex scanning a consecutive series of 167 asymptomatic patients with cervical bruits. Patients were seen at six month intervals for the first year and yearly thereafter. Based on previously validated criteria, disease at the carotid bifurcation was classified into 6 categories: Normal, 1-15% diameter reduction, 16-49%, 50-79%, 80-99%, and occlusion. Patients were evaluated to assess: the occurrence of new neurological symptoms, the stability of the lesions at the carotid bifurcation, and the possible role of risk indicators on disease changes. During follow-up, ten patients became symptomatic (6 with TIA's and 4 with stroke). The development of symptoms was accompanied by disease progression in 8 patients. By life table analysis, the annual rate occurrence of symptoms was 4%. The mean annual rate of disease progression to a greater than 50% stenosis was 8%. When progression in all categories was considered, 60% of the sides showed some disease aggravation. The presence of or progression to a greater than 80% stenosis was highly correlated (p = 0.00001) with either the development of a total occlusion of the internal carotid artery or new symptoms. The major risk factors associated with disease progression were cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, and age. Those patients under 65 years of age were most likely to show progression. Despite high rates of disease progression, this study further supports the contention that it is prudent to follow a conservative course in the management of asymptomatic patients presenting with a cervical bruit.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association