Atherosclerotic changes in the femoral and carotid arteries in familial hypercholesterolemia. Ultrasonographic assessment of intima-media thickness and plaque occurrence.
B-mode ultrasound is increasingly used in clinical research to study the atherosclerotic process in the carotid arteries. The present investigation evaluated the feasibility of measuring intima-media thickness in the common femoral artery and assessed whether such measurement might provide further information on the extent of the atherosclerotic process in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia. A further aim was to study the relationship between the intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery and the occurrence of plaque in the carotid and femoral arteries. The results showed an increased intima-media thickness in the far wall of the common femoral artery in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia compared with the control subjects (P < .01). The results also showed a clear relationship between the thickness of the intima-media complex in the common carotid artery and the prevalence of plaque in the carotid and femoral arteries. This may be interpreted as an indication that an increase in intima-media thickness in the common carotid artery at least partly expresses a generalized atherosclerotic process. The atherosclerotic changes appeared to be more advanced in the femoral artery compared with the carotid artery. In future studies, therefore, valuable information on different stages of atherosclerotic changes may be achieved by combining information from B-mode recordings from both the carotid and femoral arteries.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association