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Extracranial carotid artery stenosis: prevalence and associated risk factors in elderly stroke patients

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      Abstract

      The degree of arterial stenosis in both the right and left extracranial (common and internal) carotid arteries (ECAS) was assessed in 118 elderly (65 years and older; male 66) stroke patients by a Duplex Pulsed Wave ultrasound system (ATL 500). Of these, 33 (28%) had severe stenosis (75–1000, 16 (14%) had moderate stenosis (30–74%) and 69 (58%) had no or minimal stenosis (0–29%). Overall, 34% (n = 40) of strokes were associated with moderate or severe stenosis in the ipsilateral extracranial carotid artery. Multivariate logistical regression analysis showed a significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation between ECAS (as assessed in either artery) and ischaemic heart disease, systolic blood pressure and male sex (multiple correlation coefficient, r = 0.240). The results were similar when the analysis was repeated for ECAS in the ‘clinically significant’ (maximal stenosis ipsilateral to the stroke) arteries only (multiple correlation coefficient, r = 0.276). The relationships, however, were weak, suggesting that other factors not identified in this study are more important aetiological factors for extracranial carotid artery atherosclerosis in the elderly.

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