Arterial wall thickness in familial hypercholesterolemia. Ultrasound measurement of intima-media thickness in the common carotid artery.
B-mode ultrasound was used to noninvasively determine wall thickness and lumen diameter in the common carotid artery in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia (n = 53) and in a control group (n = 53). The controls were matched for sex, age, height, and weight, and all had a serum cholesterol level below 6.5 mmol/l. The study was performed to evaluate whether the patients had a thicker arterial wall compared with that of the control group. Wall thickness was determined as the combined intima-media thickness of the far wall and is presented as the mean and maximum thickness of a 10-mm-long section of the common carotid artery. The difference between the groups was 0.13 mm in mean wall thickness (p less than 0.001; 95% confidence interval, 0.07-0.18 mm) and 0.20 mm in maximum wall thickness (p less than 0.001; 95% confidence interval, 0.09-0.23 mm). Fifty of the subjects were examined twice to estimate the interobserver variability. The coefficients of variation for mean and maximum wall thickness were 10.2% and 8.9%, respectively. The two study groups were well matched and differed only in lipid levels. Thus, there is reason to believe that the difference in wall thickness can be explained by the background of familial hypercholesterolemia and the increased cholesterol levels.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association