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J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2013 Feb;33(1):69-74. doi: 10.1007/s11596-013-1073-3. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Significance of increased CIMT with coexisting carotid plaques in cerebral white matter lesions in elders.

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Department of Neurology, Zhongnan Hospital, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430071, China.


It is very common that increased carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) and carotid plaque coexist in a single subject in elderly patients with white matter lesions (WMLs). In this study we investigated whether the coexistence of increased CIMT and carotid plaque is more strongly associated with the presence and extent of WMLs than either alone. All patients were classified into 1 of the following 4 groups: without either increased CIMT (I) or carotid plaque (P): I(-)P(-); with only increased CIMT: I(+)P(-); with only carotid plaque: I(-)P(+); and with both increased CIMT and carotid plaque: I(+)P(+). The presence and severity of periventricular WMLs (PWMLs) and deep WMLs (DWMLs) were assessed and the prevalence of MRI findings by the Cochran-Armitage trend test was calculated. The characteristics of subjects showed that the percentages of patients with increased CIMT and carotid plaque in the DWMLs group and the PWMLs group were significantly higher than those without WMLs group. Both DWMLs and PWMLs were strongly associated with age, carotid plaque and CIMT. Furthermore, the Cochran-Armitage trend test indicated that the prevalence of MRI findings of PWMLs and DWMLs increased in the order of I(-)P(-)< I(+)P(-)< I(-)P(+)< I(+)P(+) (P<0.0001). For the patients with DWMLs, the grades of both I(+)P(-) and I(+)P(+) were increased significantly compared to I(-)P(-) (P<0.0025, P<0.05, respectively) without such a difference found in patients with PWMLs. Our results suggested that the coexistence of increased CIMT and carotid plaque is most closely associated with WMLs, and that increased CIMT is associated with the severity of DWMLs, whereas carotid plaque is related to the presence of WMLs.

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