Arterial disease risk factors and angiographic evidence of atheroma of the carotid artery.
We conducted a prospective study of serial intravenous digital subtraction angiography to determine the relation of arterial disease risk factors and hemostatic variables with the presence of visible atheroma at the carotid bifurcation. Of the 492 patients with cerebrovascular disease or ischemic heart disease who entered the study, 354 had hematologic studies, including platelet aggregation in 230. Abnormal angiograms were associated with greater age, treated hypertension, current smoking, and lower hemoglobin levels but with higher uric acid, factor VIII, and fibrinogen concentrations. In patients presenting with isolated transient ischemic attacks, abnormal angiograms were also associated with higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. To study atheroma progression, the 230 patients with complete data at entry were recalled 2 years later. Repeat angiography in 209 patients showed progression of visible bifurcation disease in 13.4%. There was some evidence that progression was linked to higher age, hypertension, and more severe disease at entry, but further analysis was hampered by the small number of patients showing increased plaque size. The possible role of risk factors and hemostatic variables, especially fibrinogen, is discussed. Factors that did not correlate with progression of angiographically visible disease may also influence clinical end points by other mechanisms, such as thrombogenesis.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association