Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultrasound Measurement Of Neck Arteries May Help Doctors Identify Older Adults At Increased Risk For Heart Attack And Stroke

Date:
January 11, 1999
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
An ultrasound test of the arteries in the neck may help doctors pick out which patients need aggressive treatment to prevent heart attacks or strokes, according to new findings published in the Jan. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- An ultrasound test of the arteries in the neck may help doctors pick out which patients need aggressive treatment to prevent heart attacks or strokes, according to new findings published in the Jan. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers found that the increasing thickness of the walls of the common carotid and internal carotid arteries of the neck -- a direct measure of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) -- was associated with increased rate of heart attack and stroke.

Gregory L. Burke, M.D., principal investigator at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), said that the finding held true even when the researchers adjusted for all of the traditional risk factors for heart attack and stroke, such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

"Elevation of heart disease risk factors is more common in the elderly," Burke explained. "It may be difficult for clinicians to identify older patients with cardiovascular disease who don't have symptoms solely on the basis of classic risk factors."

The ultrasound measurements of the carotids, which is non-invasive, appears to provide additional information needed to "help identify asymptomatic persons who would benefit from aggressive prevention measures," he said.

Such aggressive measures might include lowering high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels further than in other patients, more strict control of diabetes, and perhaps medical or surgical intervention.

Beginning in 1989, the Cardiovascular Health Study enrolled 5,201 men and women over the age of 65 in Forsyth County (Winston-Salem), N.C., Washington County (Hagerstown), Md., Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) Pa., and Sacramento County, Calif. All those who have survived are now at least 72, with some as old as 100.

The new study included 4,476 of the CHS participants. The researchers divided the participants into fifths, based on the ultrasound measurement of the thickness of the walls of both the internal carotid and the common carotid arteries. The participants with the thinnest walls had 40 strokes or heart attacks over the course of the study, compared to 184 in those with the thickest walls, more than four times as much.

The measurement of the carotids is a direct indicator of the risk of strokes, since the blood supply for the brain courses primarily through those arteries. But since atherosclerotic buildup in the carotid arteries generally occurs in other arteries as well, the measurement of the carotids is an indirect indication of clogging of the coronary arteries supplying the heart.

The results suggest that "artery wall thickness is by itself as powerful a predictor of cardiovascular events as the traditional risk factors," said Burke

CHS is an observational study. The health of the participants is monitored regularly, and physical condition, lifestyle, diet and other parameters are recorded, but diagnosis and treatment is left in the hands of personal physicians. It is the largest National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute project to study cardiovascular disease in an elderly population.

Besides ultrasound of the carotid arteries of the neck, CHS uses other non-invasive, objective measures of both subclinical and clinical chronic diseases -- such as echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, spirometry to measure lung function, fasting glucose levels to look for diabetes, and objective measures of loss of memory and brain function.

The goal of the study is to learn as much as possible about the lifestyles and the physical condition of the participants at the outset to see how these factors affect the evolution of heart attacks and strokes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Ultrasound Measurement Of Neck Arteries May Help Doctors Identify Older Adults At Increased Risk For Heart Attack And Stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990111073517.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (1999, January 11). Ultrasound Measurement Of Neck Arteries May Help Doctors Identify Older Adults At Increased Risk For Heart Attack And Stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990111073517.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Ultrasound Measurement Of Neck Arteries May Help Doctors Identify Older Adults At Increased Risk For Heart Attack And Stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990111073517.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins