Carotid atherosclerosis is correlated with extent and severity of coronary artery disease evaluated by myocardial perfusion scintigraphy.Angiology 2004 May-Jun; 55(3):281-8A
Increased intima-media thickness (IMT) in the common carotid artery (CCA) correlates with conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease and is an independent predictor of cardiac events. However, correlation between IMT and degree of ischemic heart disease evaluated by coronary angiogram is weak. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between measures of carotid atherosclerosis and the extent and severity of coronary artery disease (CAD) in 111 consecutive patients (60 men and 51 women, mean age 60 years) with known or suspected CAD who were investigated with adenosine-stress myocardial perfusion scintigraphy. Common carotid artery lumen diameter (LD) and IMT of the carotid bulb and distal CCA were measured with ultrasound, and CCA cross-sectional intima-media area (CIMA) was calculated. Seventy-two of 110 patients (65%) had significant perfusion defects. Increasing carotid plaque occurrence (absence, unilateral or bilateral occurrence) correlated with more advanced CAD (p<0.01). The extent and severity of myocardial hypoperfusion correlated significantly with presence of carotid plaque (r=0.23 and 0.24 respectively, p<0.05), CIMA (r=0.23 and 0.22, p<0.05), and LD (r<0.26 and 0.25, p<0.01) but not with IMT. In contrast to CIMA, LD failed to show an independent relation to extent of CAD after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index. In conclusion, in subjects with intermediate to high risk of ischemic heart disease, occurrence of carotid plaques and increased cross-sectional intimamedia area in the common carotid artery are the best parameters for predicting CAD expressed as myocardial hypoperfusion.