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Carotid Ultrasound Predicts Cardiovascular Events

Non-coronary atherosclerosis increases future risk of death, heart attack and stroke

MONDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- In otherwise low-risk adults, an abnormal carotid ultrasound is predictive of future cardiovascular events, according to research presented recently at the American Heart Association's 7th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Washington, D.C.

Kwame O. Akosah, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues studied 246 subjects who had no known coronary heart disease and were not taking statins. Men in the study had an average age of 55 and the women had an average age of 65. They were followed up for a median of 33 months.

The researchers found that 141 of subjects had non-coronary atherosclerosis according to carotid ultrasound. During follow-up, 10 subjects had "hard" events, including death, myocardial infarction and stroke. Nine of the 10 had non-coronary atherosclerosis. Another 36 subjects had "any" cardiac event that resulted in coronary bypass surgery, a stent implant or a new diagnosis of heart failure. Of these, 27 had non-coronary atherosclerosis. At 30 months, subjects without non-coronary atherosclerosis had favorable differences in event-free survival for hard events and any event.

"Subjects with negative carotid ultrasound studies had freedom from hard cardiovascular events over 30 months," the authors conclude. "Non-invasive imaging for non-coronary atherosclerosis may be an important adjunct to clinical risk stratification."

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