Prevalence and extent of subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with psoriasis

J Intern Med. 2013 Mar;273(3):273-82. doi: 10.1111/joim.12002. Epub 2012 Dec 28.


Objective: Patients with psoriasis are prone to premature atherosclerosis and increased risk of cardiovascular disease events. However, the prevalence and extent of atherosclerosis in patients with psoriasis are unknown.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Setting and subjects: The prevalence and extent of coronary and carotid atherosclerosis were compared in 70 patients with psoriasis (46 ± 9 years, 71% male) without known cardiovascular disease or joint involvement and 51 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects (45 ± 7 years, 71% male). Systemic inflammation was assessed by the level of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). Coronary atherosclerosis was determined by the coronary calcification score (CCS) measured by multi-detector computed tomography. Carotid atherosclerosis was assessed by high-resolution ultrasound-derived carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT).

Results: Patients with psoriasis had a higher prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis (CCS > 0; 28.6% vs. 3.9%, P < 0.01), and a higher degree of coronary atherosclerosis estimated by the mean CCS (67.4 ± 349.2 vs. 0.5 ± 3.0, P < 0.05) compared with controls. Similarly, cIMT was significantly greater in patients with psoriasis than in control subjects (0.73 ± 0.11 mm vs. 0.67 ± 0.08 mm, P < 0.01). Multiple logistic regression revealed that psoriasis [odd ratio (OR): 10.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.89-58.67, P < 0.01] and serum total cholesterol level (OR 2.10, 95% CI 1.01-4.37) were associated with the presence of coronary atherosclerosis (CCS > 0). By contrast, only age was independently associated with increased cIMT. Amongst participants with no traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, hs-CRP level was higher in patients with psoriasis than in controls.

Conclusion: The present results demonstrate early-onset, diffuse arterial atherosclerosis in coronary and carotid arteries in patients with psoriasis, but not in age- and gender-matched control subjects. Low-grade inflammation could explain the presence of premature atherosclerosis in patients with psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography
  • Prevalence
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult