Carotid atherosclerosis in chronic renal failure—the central role of increased plaque burden


      Studies on carotid artery atherosclerosis have been performed in order to understand the high risk for cardiovascular disease in chronic renal failure (CRF). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent and nature of carotid artery atherosclerosis in patients with CRF. Of the 135 patients with CRF (52±11 years), 58 had moderate to severe predialysis CRF (PR), 36 were on dialysis treatment (DI), and 41 were renal transplant recipients (TR). In addition, 58 control subjects (CO) were examined. Common carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT), plaque prevalence, plaque score, and stiffness index beta were determined. Furthermore, plaque calcification and internal carotid artery stenoses were classified. Plaque prevalence (PR 64%, DI 61%, TR 51%, CO 28%; P<0.001) and plaque score (PR 3.3±4.3, DI 3.0±3.4, TR 2.5±3.2, CO 0.8±1.7 mm; P<0.001) were significantly greater in the CRF patient groups compared to the controls, whereas no difference in IMT was noted between the study groups. The prevalences of plaque calcification and internal carotid artery stenoses were higher among the CRF patient groups. In addition, the stiffness index beta was higher in the CRF patient groups. The present study shows that the characteristic alterations of the carotid arteries in CRF include increased plaque burden, calcification and increased arterial stiffness.


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