Background: Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. This study compared subclinical atherosclerosis of the carotid and brachial arteries in psoriasis vulgaris patients and healthy controls using high-resolution ultrasonography.
Methods: We studied 43 psoriasis patients and 43 healthy controls matched for age and sex. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and nitroglycerin-induced dilatation (NTD) of the brachial artery and intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries (CCA) were measured ultrasonographically. Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, renal failure, a history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease were exclusion criteria. Subjects who were receiving lipid-lowering therapy, antihypertensive or anti-aggregant drugs, nitrates or long-term systemic steroids were also excluded.
Results: The mean IMT values of the right, left and averaged CCA of the psoriasis patients were significantly higher, compared with the controls (0.607+/-0.144 mm vs. 0.532+/-0.101 mm, 0.611+/-0.157 mm vs. 0.521+/-0.117 mm, and 0.609+/-0.146 mm vs. 0.526+/-0.104 mm; P=0.006, P=0.003 and P=0.003, respectively). The mean FMD and NTD values of the psoriasis patients were significantly lower, compared with the controls (13.36+/-6.39 mm vs. 19.60+/-11.23 mm and 21.08+/-8.38 mm vs. 26.85+/-12.38 mm; P=0.002 and P=0.013, respectively). Multiple linear regression analysis revealed a significant association between psoriasis and the IMT, FMD and NTD. Moreover, the FMD in psoriasis patients was associated with disease duration.
Conclusion: Psoriasis patients had impaired endothelial function and thicker IMT of the CCA, compared with the healthy control subjects. The presence of psoriasis was an independent risk factor for subclinical atherosclerosis.