Aim: To evaluate the association between types of carotid plaque, the presence of prior ischaemic events detectable with CT, and patient's symptoms.
Materials and methods: Between January 2004 and May 2006, 112 patients were evaluated using multidetector row computed tomography angiography (MDCTA) of the carotid arteries and computed tomography (CT) of the brain. Carotid arteries were categorized by evaluating the degree of stenosis according to North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET) criteria, the type of plaque, and the presence of plaque ulceration. The brain was assessed via CT for the presence, type, and position of lesions. Chi-square tests, Student's t test, and simple logistic regression analysis were performed and the Cohen kappa test was applied for interobserver variability measurement.
Results: The Chi-square test indicated a statistically significant association between the presence of fatty plaques (p=0.005) and CT-detectable lesions in the brain (p=0.004). Moreover, the number of patients with CT-detectable brain lesions was greater in patients with >70% stenosis than in those with <70% stenosis (p=0.007). Logistic regression confirmed the association between fatty plaque and symptoms (p=0.001), between >70% stenosis and symptoms (p=0.041), and an inverse association between calcified plaque and symptoms (p=0.009).
Conclusion: MDCTA allows adequate evaluation of the type of plaque. The results of the present study indicate that there is an association between cerebral lesions, symptoms, and fatty plaque in the carotid artery. The degree of stenosis also correlated with cerebral lesions and symptoms. According to the obtained data, the type of carotid plaque should be included among primary parameters in the classification of patients' risk class.