Duration of cigarette smoking is the strongest predictor of severe extracranial carotid artery atherosclerosis.
The effect of cigarette smoking on extracranial carotid atherosclerosis was studies by obtaining cigarette smoking histories and information on other potential risk factors from consecutive patients undergoing carotid arteriography. At least on extracranial carotid artery was visualized in 752 patients in whom the extent of carotid atherosclerosis was assessed. The total years of cigarette smoking was the most significant independent predictor of the presence of severe carotid atherosclerosis. Other independent predictors, in order of significance, were age, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, male sex, and current systolic blood pressure. By age 60 years, the risk of having severe carotid atherosclerosis for a person who had smoked for 40 years was approximately 3.5 times that for a never smoker. The major benefit of smoking cessation is in limiting the accumulation of smoking years.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association