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Rivista di Angiologia
Official Journal of the , the International Union of Phlebology and the
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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International Angiology 2002 June;21(2):117-22
Carotid atherosclerosis and ischemic stroke in young patients
Oliviero U., Orefice G. *, Coppola G. *, Scherillo G., Ascione S. *, Casaburi C., Barbieri F. *, Saccà L.
Department of Clinical Medicine and Cardiovascular Sciences, and * Department of Neurology, University Federico II Medical School, Naples, Italy
Background. Epidemiological studies indicate a high prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis in elderly patients with ischemic stroke. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of early carotid atherosclerotic lesions in young subjects with ischemic stroke, in the absence of the common atherosclerotic risk factors.
Methods. We studied 98 young patients with first ischemic stroke (54 males and 44 females; mean age 41.2 years; range 32-50) and 96 healthy controls. All subjects underwent ultrasonographic scanning of the carotid arteries according to a standardized protocol.
Results. The carotid intima-media thickness was significantly increased in the patient group (p<0.001) compared with controls. In addition, the prevalence of carotid atherosclerotic plaques was greater in the patients than in the controls (p<0.001). In particular, we detected 18 non-occlusive carotid plaques and 16 thrombotic occlusions. In 8 patients, the lesions were bilateral. The echographic pattern of the plaques was hard in 8 cases, soft in 5 cases, and mixed in the remaining 5 cases.
Conclusions. We detected an increased wall thickness of the carotid arteries and an increased prevalence of carotid atherosclerotic lesions and carotid thrombotic occlusions in young patients with ischemic stroke, with a relative low incidence of cardiovascular risk factors. This finding suggests that arterial intima-media thickness per se is an important determinant of vascular disease in young patients. The data also provide indirect support for the potential role of genetic factors in the genesis of atherosclerosis in young patients.