Cephalometric calcified carotid artery atheromas in patients with obstructive sleep apnea
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In the progress of atherosclerosis, the carotid artery calcifies and sometimes appears as a calcified mass on a cephalometric radiograph.
This study was designed to evaluate the prevalence of calcification in cephalometric radiographs of OSA patients and to identify the differences between subjects with and without carotid artery calcification.
A total of 1,520 X-rays were evaluated. Data for group A, 508 traditional X-rays, were collected from the UBC Sleep Apnea Dental Clinic and data for group B, 1,012 digital X-rays, were obtained from the Tsuda Hospital in Japan. Subjects were divided into two groups according to whether or not calcification was present in the carotid artery area and the characteristic differences between these two groups were analyzed.
Group A had 34 (6.7%) subjects who exhibited calcification in the carotid arterial area, while group B had 96 (9.5%) subjects who revealed calcification. Group A calcification subjects had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than subjects who had no calcification (26.9 ± 3.2 vs. 29.7 ± 5.6, p < 0.01). Group B calcification subjects were older than subjects who had no calcification (57.6 ± 12.6 vs. 49.8 ± 14.5, p < 0.000). Previous reports have found the prevalence of calcification on X-rays of OSA patients to be higher than the prevalence of calcification found in the general population.
While the presence of a calcified mass on a cephalometric radiograph is not diagnostic of atherosclerosis, this information might help to aid in screening for the condition.
KeywordsAtherosclerosis Calcification Sleep apnea Radiograph
The authors would like to thank Mrs. Ingrid Ellis for editorial assistance in the final preparation of this manuscript.
A Mitacs Accelerate Internship Grant supported in part the postdoctoral salary of H. Tsuda.
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