Current Cardiology Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 21–27 | Cite as

Carotid plaque compared with intima-media thickness as a predictor of coronary and cerebrovascular disease

  • Stein Harald JohnsenEmail author
  • Ellisiv B. Mathiesen


Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of most myocardial infarction (MI) and ischemic strokes. B-mode ultrasound of carotid arteries provides measures of intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaques, both widely used as surrogate measures of cardiovascular disease. Although IMT and plaques are highly inter-correlated, IMT’s role as a marker of atherosclerosis has been questioned, especially when measurements include the common carotid artery (CCA) only. Plaque and intima-media thickening may reflect different biological aspects of atherogenesis with distinctive relations to clinical vascular disease. Plaque measured in the carotid bulb or internal carotid artery is stronger related to hyperlipidemia and smoking and is a stronger predictor for MI, whereas CCA-IMT is stronger related to hypertension and ischemic stroke. Echolucent plaque morphology (ie, lipid-rich plaques) seems to increase the risk for MI and stroke. New evidence suggests that total plaque area is the most strongly predictive of cardiovascular risk of the ultrasound phenotypes.


Carotid Stenosis Carotid Plaque Pitavastatin Plaque Area Total Plaque Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital North NorwayBreivika, TromsøNorway

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