Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease in Asymptomatic Subjects With Advanced Vascular Atherosclerosis of the Carotid Artery (Type III and IV b Findings Using Ultrasound) and Risk Factors

Ansgar Adams, Waldemar Bojara, Klaus Schunk


Background: A study was conducted as to whether the early diagnosis of coronary heart disease in asymptomatic subjects with advanced atherosclerosis of the carotid artery which additionally shows at least one risk factor is successful using ultrasound technology.

Methods: Within the scope of an occupational screening program using subjects from diverse employment sectors, people were given the opportunity to determine their risk of heart attack. During the study the total plaque area (TPA), the maximum plaque thickness in the carotid artery and the PROCAM-Scores of 3,748 healthy men and 2,260 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 64 years were determined. During the subsequent follow-up study 94 subjects sickened. An ultrasound examination of the carotid artery of 79 patients revealed a type III or IV b finding. In a pilot study 33 asymptomatic subjects with a type III or IV b finding in the ultrasound examination were assessed using a computed tomography (CT) coronary angiogram. Additional 10 asymptomatic subjects were examined independently to undergo further cardiac examinations.

Results: In the final analysis only five patients had entirely smooth coronary arteries, six had coronary sclerosis, eight had a 30% stenosis, one had a 30-50% stenosis and 23 patients had a stenosis >=50%; and in extreme case, a left main coronary artery stenosis with three-vessel disease.

Conclusions: Asymptomatic subjects with advanced atherosclerosis of the carotid artery (type III and type IV b findings) had a high risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Early treatment of the disease improves the patient's prognosis. A screening consisting in the combination of TPA measurement and determining the maximum plaque thickness is recommended.

Cardiol Res. 2018;9(1):22-27
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/cr667w



Total plaque area; Carotid ultrasound; Cardiovascular risk; Coronary heart disease; PROCAM-score

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