Carotid artery intima-media thickness measured by ultrasonography in normal clinical practice correlates well with atherosclerosis risk factors

Damiano Baldassarre, Mauro Amato, Alighiero Bondioli, Cesare R. Sirtori, Elena Tremoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose - The intima-media thickness (IMT) of extracranial carotid arteries determined by B-mode ultrasound is a measurable index of the presence of atherosclerosis. The ultrasonographic scan protocol and the scan reading techniques used until now to measure IMT are, however, time consuming and require the participation of specialized research centers. In this study we present a cross-sectional study of 963 patients attending the Enrica Grossi Paoletti Center in Milan, Italy, with the aim of assessing whether ultrasonographic measurements of carotid artery in routine clinical practice can yield the same results as those obtained with quantitative methods used until now in clinical trials. Methods - Maximum and mean maximum IMT of carotid arteries were assessed by B-mode ultrasound with the use of the electronic caliper of the machine in real time. Results - The intraobserver and interobserver variability of IMT of carotid arteries performed with the electronic caliper in real time was similar to that of quantitative processing of frozen images (coefficients of variation of intraobserver and interobserver mean maximum IMT measurements were 4.2% and 7.3%, respectively). Carotid artery IMT thus measured correlated with most of the known atherosclerosis risk factors and discriminated between patients with and without previous history of cardiovascular events. IMT was linearly related to the total number of vascular risk factors both in the whole group and after stratification of patients into 3 age classes. Conclusions - These observations establish a strong correlation between B-mode imaging of carotid atherosclerosis evaluated in normal clinical practice and data provided by clinical trials and validate this simple reading technique as a means of identifying IMT as another possible risk factor in patients at high risk of vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2426-2430
Number of pages5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Intima-media thickness
  • Risk factors
  • Ultrasonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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