Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Improved Stroke Risk Assessment in Hypertensive Black Adults

Am J Hypertens. 2024 Mar 15;37(4):290-297. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpae008.


Background: We aim to determine the added value of carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in stroke risk assessment for hypertensive Black adults.

Methods: We examined 1,647 participants with hypertension without a history of cardiovascular (CV) disease, from the Jackson Heart Study. Cox regression analysis estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for incident stroke per standard deviation increase in cIMT and quartiles while adjusting for baseline variables. We then evaluated the predictive capacity of cIMT when added to the pool cohort equations (PCEs).

Results: The mean age at baseline was 57 ± 10 years. Each standard deviation increase in cIMT (0.17 mm) was associated with approximately 30% higher risk of stroke (HR 1.27, 95% confidence interval: 1.08-1.49). Notably, cIMT proved valuable in identifying residual stroke risk among participants with well-controlled blood pressure, showing up to a 56% increase in the odds of stroke for each 0.17 mm increase in cIMT among those with systolic blood pressure <120 mm Hg. Additionally, the addition of cIMT to the PCE resulted in the reclassification of 58% of low to borderline risk participants with stroke to a higher-risk category and 28% without stroke to a lower-risk category, leading to a significant net reclassification improvement of 0.22 (0.10-0.30).

Conclusions: In this community-based cohort of middle-aged Black adults with hypertension and no history of CV disease at baseline, cIMT is significantly associated with incident stroke and enhances stroke risk stratification.

Keywords: African Americans; Black adults; JHS; blood pressure; cIMT; carotid intima–media thickness; hypertension; stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / complications
  • Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke* / diagnosis
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Stroke* / etiology