Preclinical changes of extracoronary arterial structures as indicators of coronary atherosclerosis in men

J Hypertens. 1998 Feb;16(2):157-63. doi: 10.1097/00004872-199816020-00005.


Background: Carotid artery structure change was associated with coronary artery stenosis by angiography of subjects who were for the most part symptomatic.

Objective: To determine whether structural changes at multiple extracoronary sites were associated with noninvasively detected coronary calcium for 94 asymptomatic high-risk men.

Methods and results: B-mode ultrasonography allowed us to detect plaque at three sites (carotid, femoral, and abdominal aorta) and to measure intima-medial thickness both in common carotid and in femoral arteries. Ultrafast computed tomography determined the presence and amount of coronary calcification. After adjustment for age, plaques at two or three sites were associated with extensive amounts of coronary calcium [odds ratio 4.94 (95% confidence interval 1.08-23)], but not with the presence of coronary calcium; increase in carotid intima-medial thickness was not associated with presence and extent of coronary calcium; and increase in femoral intima-medial thickness was associated with presence of coronary calcium [odds ratio 1.44 (95% confidence interval 1.03-2)] and extensive coronary calcium [odds ratio 1.50 (95% confidence interval 0.97-2.33)]. Adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors attenuated these associations.

Conclusions: Femoral intima-medial thickness predicted presence of coronary calcium whereas femoral intima-medial thickness and overall multiple plaques predicted extensive coronary calcium. Because coronary calcium is a marker of atherosclerosis and a predictor of coronary events, B-mode ultrasonography could be of clinical value for stratifying coronary risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography


  • Calcium