Carotid Atherosclerosis Does Not Predict Coronary, Vertebral, or Aortic Atherosclerosis in Patients With Acute Stroke Symptoms
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Background and Purpose— The purpose of this study was to determine whether significant atherosclerotic disease in the carotid arteries predicts significant atherosclerotic disease in the coronary arteries, vertebral arteries, or aorta in patients with symptoms of acute ischemic stroke.
Methods— Atherosclerotic disease was imaged using CT angiography in a prospective study of 120 consecutive patients undergoing emergent CT evaluation for symptoms of stroke. Using a comprehensive CT angiography protocol that captured the carotid arteries, coronary arteries, vertebral arteries, and aorta, we evaluated these arteries for the presence and severity of atherosclerotic disease. Significant atherosclerotic disease was defined as >50% stenosis in the carotid, coronary, and vertebral arteries, or ≥4 mm thickness and encroaching in the aorta. Presence of any and significant atherosclerotic disease was compared in the different types of arteries assessed.
Results— Of these 120 patients, 79 had CT angiography examinations of adequate image quality and were evaluated in this study. Of these 79 patients, 33 had significant atherosclerotic disease. In 26 of these 33 patients (79%), significant disease was isolated to 1 type of artery, most often to the coronary arteries (N=14; 54%). Nonsignificant atherosclerotic disease was more systemic and involved multiple arteries.
Conclusions— Significant atherosclerotic disease in the carotid arteries does not predict significant atherosclerotic disease in the coronary arteries, vertebral arteries, or aorta in patients with symptoms of acute ischemic stroke. Significant atherosclerotic disease is most often isolated to 1 type of artery in these patients, whereas nonsignificant atherosclerotic disease tends to be more systemic.
- carotid artery
- carotid stenosis
- computed tomography
- coronary artery
- vertrobrobasilary disease
- Received January 10, 2010.
- Revision received March 5, 2010.
- Accepted March 12, 2010.