, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 153-162
Date: 04 Dec 2010

Measurement of carotid intima-media thickness and carotid plaque detection for cardiovascular risk assessment

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Introduction

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States.1 Because, frequently, sudden death is the first symptom of CVD,1 there is great interest in safe and noninvasive techniques to identify asymptomatic individuals who are otherwise at increased risk of adverse CVD events. The traditional approach to CVD risk assessment uses risk factors and risk factor calculators; however, there is significant overlap between risk factor status among individuals that eventually will and will not develop CVD.2,3 In a recent evaluation of three large, longitudinal studies, it was uncommon for men or women to die of coronary heart disease without a risk factor level above normal; however, 58%-85% of individuals who do not die of coronary heart disease also have risk factors.4 Thus, the limitation of traditional risk factors is not a lack of sensitivity; it is a lack of specificity. Even CVD risk factor calculators that combine risk factors such as the Framingham an ...

Dr Johnson was funded by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Centennial Scholars Program.