Carotid atherosclerosis, intima media thickness and risk factors--an analysis of 1781 asymptomatic subjects in Taiwan

Atherosclerosis. 2002 Sep;164(1):89-94. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(02)00017-5.


The aim of this study was to investigate the association of intima media thickness (IMT) and plaque with risk factors for atherosclerosis in asymptomatic subjects in Taiwan. Between 1998 and 2001, the study recruited 1781 asymptomatic subjects (1131 men and 650 women [mean age, 49 years; range 18-85 years]). These were examined by B-mode ultrasound to measure the IMT at the far wall of the common carotid artery (CCA) and the extent of plaque formation. A wide range of vascular risk factors including age, gender, smoking, body mass index, blood chemistry, and previous history were surveyed. The mean (+/-S.D.) IMT observed was 0.68 (+/-0.12) and 0.66 (+/-0.11) mm for men and women, respectively, (P=0.0008). The mean (S.D.) IMT of the CCA was 0.66 (+/-0.12) mm on the right side and 0.68 (+/-0.12) mm on the left side (P=0.0004). IMT increased with aging, according to the equation IMT=(0.005xage in years)+0.403 [corrected]. Higher IMT was associated with male gender, and IMT was greater in the left CCA. About 36.9% of subjects had carotid plaques. The percentage of plaque increased with aging. The plaque prevalence was positively associated with IMT. The value of IMT over the cut point of 0.68 mm correlated with obviously increased risk of carotid atherosclerosis. Age, systolic blood pressure and fasting blood sugar were independent risk factors related to both carotid atherosclerosis and thick IMT.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / epidemiology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology
  • Carotid Artery, Common / anatomy & histology
  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / pathology
  • Tunica Media / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Media / pathology
  • Ultrasonography