Aim: There are currently no data on ethnic differences in aortic atherosclerosis in Arab and Jewish patients from northern Israel with acute ischemic stroke.
Methods: Data on demographic and risk factors alongside transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) data and treatment details for 509 patients with acute ischemic stroke were included in the study.
Results: The patients with aortic atheromas were older and had significantly more frequent vascular risk factors (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and smoking), as well as vascular disease (ischemic heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and carotid plaques). They were also treated with statins more often than those without aortic atheroma. Logistic regression analysis showed that age, smoking, ethnicity, and the presence of carotid plaques were independent predictors for aortic atheromas. Aortic plaques were found more frequently in Jewish patients than Arab patients (160 (41.9%) vs. 35 (27.3%); p= 0.003). This finding did not change after adjustment for age, sex, all vascular risk factors, and type of antithrombotic treatment. We did not find any difference between Arab and Jewish patients in the distribution of plaques by location or complexity before and after adjustment for age, sex, all vascular risk factors, or type of antithrombotic or lipid-lowering treatment.
Conclusions: Our findings emphasize the influence of ethnicity on the prevalence of aortic atheromas in acute ischemic stroke patients in northern Israel. The search for genetic, cultural, socioeconomic, and other factors explaining these ethnic differences should be the topic of future studies.