Increased carotid artery wall thickness (CAWT), which can cause heart attack and stroke in many patients, is significantly related to diabetes and hypertension, according to a study performed at A.O.U. in Cagliari Sardegna, Italy (Chairman, Professor Giorgio Mallarini).
During the study, 186 patients were evaluated using multidetector row CT to see if CAWT is associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and a history of smoking. Results showed that there is a statistically significant relationship between diabetes and hypertension. “There was no significant statistical correlation between the increase of carotid wall thickness, smoking and dyslipidemia,” said Luca Saba, MD, lead author of the study.
“Our group demonstrated that the presence of CAWT greater than 1mm in patients with diabetes or hypertension is strongly correlated with a risk to suffer a stroke. Patients at higher risk should be monitored every 12 months,” said Dr. Saba.
“The detection and evaluation of CAWT together with the study of other cardiovascular factors allows for improvement in patient follow up and risk stratification. Imaging as part of the diagnostic process and management of patients with high cardiovascular risks is important,” he said.