Carotid artery stenosis is elicited by atherosclerosis and is the main cause of cerebral thrombosis. Flow-mediated endothelial vasodilation (FMD) can be measured noninvasively to assess vascular endothelial function related to atherosclerosis. The pulse wave velocity (PWV) is used to evaluate the vascular media involved in atherosclerosis. We investigated the relationship between these measurements in 75 consecutive patients with atherosclerotic cerebral thrombosis. They were assigned to three equal groups based on the severity of carotid artery stenosis on ultrasonograms. Group 1 had no stenosis, group 2 manifested moderate stenosis (<60%), and group 3 presented with severe stenosis (≥60%). We compared the FMD and PWV among the three groups. The PWV was significantly lower in group 1 than the other two groups. The FMD was significantly lower in group 3; it was significantly lower in group 2 than group 1. There was an inverse correlation between the FMD and the severity of carotid artery stenosis. Our findings show that for assessing the severity of carotid artery stenosis, the FMD is more useful than the PWV.
Keywords: carotid artery stenosis; endothelial dysfunction; flow mediated dilation; pulse wave velocity; ultrasonography.