Diagonal ear-lobe crease is associated with carotid intima-media thickness in subjects free of clinical cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis. 2007 Jun;192(2):428-31. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2006.08.042. Epub 2006 Oct 9.


Background: The diagonal ear-lobe crease (ELC) has been suggested as a simple marker of cardiovascular disease in the general population. There is no knowledge concerning the relation between carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), an index of subclinical atherosclerosis, and diagonal ELC. The aim of our study was to assess this relation.

Methods and results: The study population was prospectively selected from apparently healthy subjects. Sixty-five consecutive subjects with ELC and 65 age- and gender-matched control subjects without ELC were included in this study. These were examined by B-mode ultrasound to measure the IMT at the far wall of the common carotid artery. Subjects with ELC had significantly higher carotid IMT compared to control subjects without ELC (0.88+/-0.14 versus 0.69+/-0.14 mm, respectively, p=0.0001). The presence of ELC was independently associated with IMT in the multivariate logistic regression analysis. In addition, we detected a significant positive correlation between the presence of ELC and carotid IMT (r=0.558, p=0.0001).

Conclusions: We have shown for the first time an association between increased carotid IMT and diagonal ELC in apparently healthy subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology*
  • Ear, External / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography