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Circulation. 2001 Dec 4;104(23):2815-9.

Carotid intimal-medial thickness is related to cardiovascular risk factors measured from childhood through middle age: The Muscatine Study.

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  • 1Division of Cerebrovascular Diseases, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.



Higher carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT) is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and is predictive of coronary artery disease and stroke in older adults. Carotid IMT was measured in young and middle-aged adults to determine its relationship with risk factors measured (1) in childhood, (2) currently, and (3) as a "load" from childhood to adulthood.


Carotid ultrasound studies were performed in 346 men and 379 women aged 33 to 42 years who were representative of a cohort followed since childhood and who live in Muscatine, Iowa. The mean of the measurements of maximal carotid IMT at 12 locations was determined for each subject. A medical questionnaire was completed, and measurements of anthropometric characteristics and risk factors were obtained. The mean maximum carotid IMT was 0.79+/-0.12 mm for men and 0.72+/-0.10 mm for women. On the basis of multivariable analysis, the significant current predictors of IMT were age and LDL cholesterol in both sexes and diastolic blood pressure in women. Total cholesterol was a significant childhood predictor in both sexes, while childhood body mass index was significant only in women. For men, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and diastolic blood pressure were predictive of carotid IMT in a risk factor load model, whereas in women, LDL cholesterol, body mass index, and triglycerides were predictive.


Higher carotid IMT in young and middle-aged adults is associated with childhood and current cardiovascular risk factors, as well as risk factor load.

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