Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), as assessed by ultrasonography, has been shown to be directly related to cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality independently of conventional risk factors. Thus, CIMT has been proposed as a marker of CV risk and a surrogate end-point for therapeutic interventions. In the present article we will review available literature about CIMT clinical/prognostic significance in order to offer an updated comprehensive information on this topic. In particular, the anti-atherosclerotic effect of angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) in the hypertensive setting will be addressed, based on findings provided by double blind, randomized, prospective studies comparing CIMT longitudinal changes. Our review, including 8 studies totaling 1154 hypertensive participants, shows that ARBs are as effective as the other classes of antihypertensive drugs in preventing/regressing subclinical carotid damage and that findings supporting their superiority in this field are limited and not univocal. Future studies aimed to clarify the therapeutic impact of ARBs on CIMT changes and their prognostic implications are warranted.
- Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use
- Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use
- Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
- Hypertension/diagnostic imaging