Objective: Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), which has been mainly used to study coronary atherosclerosis, also enables non-invasive measurement of carotid and aortic atherosclerosis and might be suitable for screening in the general population. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of carotid artery, aortic arch and coronary artery calcification as assessed by MDCT, with presence of stroke.
Methods: The study was embedded in the population-based Rotterdam Study and comprises 2521 persons (mean age 69.7±6.8 years, 48% males) that underwent an MDCT scan. History of stroke was reported by 96 persons. We used multivariable logistic regression to investigate the associations of calcification in the carotid arteries, aortic arch, and coronary arteries with presence of stroke.
Results: We found strong and graded associations of prevalent stroke with carotid artery (OR quartile 4 versus 1 (95% CI): 5.0 (2.2-11.0)), aortic arch (3.3 (1.5-7.4)) and coronary artery calcification (3.1 (1.3-7.3)), independent of cardiovascular risk factors. Only the association of carotid artery calcification with presence of stroke was independent of calcification in the other two vessel beds.
Conclusion: In this population-based study, we found a strong and graded association of prevalent stroke with carotid artery, aortic arch and coronary artery calcification, independent of cardiovascular risk factors. After additional adjustment for calcification in the other vessel beds, prevalent stroke was still significantly related to carotid calcification, but no longer to aortic arch or coronary calcification.
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