Computed tomographic study of cervical carotid calcification.
Contrast-enhanced computed tomography of the neck permits low-risk evaluation of morphologic complications of carotid plaque, including (and foremost) calcification. To investigate the patterns and clinical significance of calcified deposits in the cervical carotid arteries using computed tomography we studied 40 patients with unilateral symptoms of hemispheric ischemia. Calcium deposits observed in the external, internal, and common carotid arteries were oriented in space and individually scored. We found calcified deposits in 39 patients. Stepwise multiple regression of the data provided evidence strongly suggesting a correlation between advancing age and calcium scores. Calcium was more heavily concentrated in the posterior half of arteries (p less than 0.01), in particular of the internal and common carotid arteries, and always in relation to an atheromatous plaque, suggesting a causative link to hemodynamic forces within the arteries. There was no difference in calcification scores between symptomatic and asymptomatic sides, indicating that calcium deposits do not contribute to the development of symptoms.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association