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Herz. 2013 Aug;38(5):501-8. doi: 10.1007/s00059-012-3718-6. Epub 2012 Nov 25.

[Distribution of carotid intima media thickness in men and women with and without coronary heart disease. Cross-sectional data of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Klinik für Kardiologie, Westdeutsches Herzzentrum Essen, Universitätsklinikum Essen, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstrasse 55, Essen, Germany.



The aim of this study was to introduce population-based sex and age-stratified distributions of carotid intima media thickness (CIMT), to compare fixed cut-off and percentile values for subjects with and without known coronary heart disease (CHD) and to describe CIMT percentiles.


Between 2000 and 2003, a total of 4,814 subjects aged 45-75 years were recruited into the Heinz Nixdorf recall study (HNR). Ultrasound examination of extracranial arteries was performed and the CIMT was measured manually over a distance of 1 cm proximal to the bulb in the common carotid artery (CCA). Both sides were measured and the average of the right and left artery were calculated (mean CIMT).


The CIMT was measured for 1,749 men and 1,802 women without prevalent CHD and 177 men and 50 women with prevalent CHD. Mean CIMT values were higher in men compared to women (men 0.71 ± 0.14 mm vs. women 0.65 ± 0.11 mm, p ≤ 0.0001) and in subjects with CHD compared to those without (men with and without CHD: 0.76 ± 0.14 mm and 0.70 ± 0.14 mm, p ≤ 0.0001, respectively; women with and without CHD: 0.73 ± 0.15 mm and 0.64 ± 0.11 mm, p ≤ 0.0001, respectively). In men the mean CIMT increased from 0.62 ± 0.10 mm in the youngest (45-49 years old) up to 0.79 ± 0.13 mm in the highest age group (≥ 70 years) (0.57 ± 0.08 mm up to 0.71 ± 0.12 mm in women, p ≤ 0.0001 for both).


Compared to international studies similar CIMT distributions were found in this study using both continuous and percentile distributions. However, lower CIMT values were observed in older participants, which can be explained by exclusion of carotid plaque formation in CIMT measurements.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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