Changes in Ultrasound-Assessed Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Plaque With a Mediterranean Diet
A Substudy of the PREDIMED Trial
Objective—The Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) trial showed that a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or 30 g/d of mixed nuts reduced incident cardiovascular events compared with a control (low fat) diet. The mechanisms of cardiovascular protection afforded by MedDiets remain to be uncovered. We assessed the effect of both supplemented MedDiets on internal carotid intima-media thickness (ICA-IMT) and plaque height, the ultrasound features that best predict future cardiovascular events, in subjects at high cardiovascular risk.
Approach and Results—In a PREDIMED subcohort (n=175), plaque height and carotid IMT of 3 prespecified segments (ICA, bifurcation, and common) were sonographically assessed at baseline and after intervention for a mean of 2.4 years. We evaluated 164 subjects with complete data. In a multivariate model, mean ICA-IMT progressed in the control diet group (mean [95% confidence interval], 0.052 mm [−0.014 to 0.118 mm]), whereas it regressed in the MedDiet+nuts group (−0.084 mm [−0.158 to −0.010 mm]; P=0.024 versus control). Similar results were observed for maximum ICA-IMT (control, 0.188 mm [0.077 to 0.299 mm]; MedDiet+nuts, −0.030 mm [−0.153 to 0.093 mm]; P=0.034) and maximum plaque height (control, 0.106 mm [0.001 to 0.210 mm]; MedDiet+nuts, −0.091 mm [−0.206 to 0.023 mm]; P=0.047). There were no changes in ICA-IMT or plaque after the MedDiet+extra virgin olive oil.
Conclusions—Compared with a control diet, consumption of a MedDiet supplemented with nuts is associated with delayed progression of ICA-IMT and plaque. The results contribute mechanistic evidence for the reduction of cardiovascular events observed in the PREDIMED trial.
- Received August 2, 2013.
- Accepted November 14, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.