Volume 17 (2010) Issue 5 Pages 526-535
Aim: Ultrasound protocols to measure carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) differ considerably with regard to the inclusion of the number of carotid segments and angles used. Detailed information on the completeness of CIMT information is often lacking in published reports, and at most, overall percentages are presented. We therefore decided to study the completeness of CIMT measurements and its relation with vascular risk factors using data from two CIMT intervention studies: one among familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) patients, the Rating Atherosclerotic Disease change by Imaging With A New CETP Inhibitor (RADIANCE 1), and one among mixed dyslipidemia (MD) patients, the Rating Atherosclerotic Disease change by Imaging With A New CETP Inhibitor (RADIANCE 2).
Methods: We used baseline ultrasound scans from the RADIANCE 1 (n=872) and RADIANCE 2 (n=752) studies. CIMT images were recorded for 12 artery-wall combinations (near and far walls of the left and right common carotid artery (CCA), bifurcation (BIF) and internal carotid artery (ICA) segments) at 4 set angles, resulting in 48 possible measurements per patient. The presence or absence of CIMT measurements was assessed per artery-wall combination and per angle. The relation between completeness and patient characteristics was evaluated with logistic regression analysis.
Results: In 89% of the FH patients, information on CIMT could be obtained on all twelve carotid segments, and in 7.6%, eleven segments had CIMT information (nearly complete 96.6%). For MD patients this was 74.6% and 17.9%, respectively (nearly complete: 92.5%). Increased body mass index and increased waist circumference were significantly (p=0.01) related to less complete data in FH patients. For MD patients, relations were seen with increased waist circumference (p<0.01). Segment-specific data indicated that in FH patients, completeness was less for the near wall of the left (96%) and right internal carotid artery (94%) as compared to other segments (all >98%). In MD patients, completeness was lower for the near wall of both the right and left carotid arteries: 86.0% and 90.8%, respectively, as compared to other segments (all >97%).
Conclusions: With the current ultrasound protocols it is possible to obtain a very high level of completeness. Apart from the population studied, body mass index and waist circumference are important in achieving complete CIMT measurements.