Brachial intima-media thickness is associated with coronary artery atherosclerosis in patients with diabetes mellitus

Heart Vessels. 2019 Sep;34(9):1405-1411. doi: 10.1007/s00380-019-01371-8. Epub 2019 Mar 5.


Coronary artery calcification (CAC) as measured by computed tomography is a strong predictor of coronary artery disease. The brachial intima-media thickness (IMT) was recently reported to be associated with cardiovascular risk factors. This study investigated the association of brachial IMT with CAC, which is a marker of coronary artery atherosclerosis, in patients with diabetes. We enrolled 292 patients with diabetes (mean age, 65 ± 12 years; 59% men) who underwent both endothelial function testing and computed tomography for risk assessment of coronary artery disease. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and IMT in the brachial artery were measured with a specialized machine. FMD was lower and brachial IMT was thicker in patients with than without CAC. The CAC score was significantly correlated with both brachial IMT and FMD, while the multivariate logistic analysis demonstrated that brachial IMT (> 0.32 mm) but not FMD (< 5.1%) was significantly associated with the presence of CAC (odds ratio, 2.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-3.77; p = 0.02). The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that the area under the curve for discriminating patients with CAC was 0.67 for IMT (p < 0.001) and 0.62 for FMD (p < 0.001). When patients were classified into four groups based on brachial IMT and FMD, the CAC score was higher in patients with thicker brachial IMT and lower FMD than in patients of the other groups (p < 0.001). Measurement of brachial IMT could be useful for the risk assessment of patients with diabetes.

Keywords: Coronary artery calcification; Endothelial function; Flow-mediated dilatation; Intima-media thickness.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology*
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed