Five Year Outcomes in Men Screened for Carotid Artery Stenosis at 65 Years of Age: A Population Based Cohort Study

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2019 Jun;57(6):759-766. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2019.02.005. Epub 2019 May 26.


Objective: This study aimed to determine the outcome of 65 year old men five years after carotid ultrasound screening, as well as risk factors for disease progression.

Methods: All 65 year old men living in the county of Uppsala 2007-2009 were invited to an ultrasound examination of both carotid arteries and re-invited at age 70. The cohort was grouped into normal carotids, plaque without significant stenosis, moderate stenosis (50-79%), and severe stenosis (80-99%). The rate of disease progression was assessed from ultrasound data. Data on mortality, ipsilateral neurological events, risk factors, and medication were obtained from patient records and population registries.

Results: Among men participating in carotid screening at age 65, 3,057 were re-screened at age 70. In those with normal carotids (n = 2,318), 23 (1.0%) progressed to a moderate stenosis, and four (0.2%) to a symptomatic severe stenosis. Among those with plaque (n = 696), 25 (3.6%) progressed to moderate stenosis, and eight (1.1%) to severe stenosis, of whom four (0.6%) had symptoms. Of 31 men with 50-79% stenosis, four (12.9%) had progressed to a severe stenosis, of whom two (6.5%) developed symptoms. Five of twelve subjects (42%) with 80-99% stenosis developed symptoms. Disease regression was present among 289/692 plaque (41.7%) and 16/33 stenosis (48.4%). In multivariable analysis, smoking, coronary artery disease and hypercholesterolemia were associated with disease progression. The proportions of antiplatelet, statin, and antihypertensive treatment in the population at age 70 were 22%, 29%, and 55%, respectively.

Conclusion: Men with plaques and moderate stenosis have a good prognosis, but in those with severe stenosis there is a high risk of neurological events.

Keywords: Atherosclerotic plaque; Carotid stenosis; Mortality; Natural history; Stroke rate.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Stenosis / mortality
  • Carotid Stenosis / therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex*