Echo-lucency of computerized ultrasound images of carotid atherosclerotic plaques are associated with increased levels of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins as well as increased plaque lipid content

Marie-Louise Moes Grønholdt, Børge G. Nordestgaard, Brit M. Weibe, Jens E. Wilhjelm, Henrik Sillesen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background-Echo-lucency of carotid atherosclerotic plaques on computerized ultrasound B-mode images has been associated with a high incidence of brain infarcts as evaluated on CT scans. We tested the hypotheses that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins in the fasting and postprandial state predict carotid plaque echo-lucency and that echo-lucency predicts a high plaque lipid content.

Methods and Results-The study included 137 patients with neurological symptoms and greater than or equal to 50% stenosis of the relevant carotid artery, High-resolution B-mode ultrasound images of carotid plaques were computer processed to yield a measure of echogenicity (gray-scale level). Lipoproteins were measured before and hourly ibr 4 hours after a standardized fatty meal, A subgroup of 58 patients underwent endarterectomy. On linear regression analysis, echu-lucency (low gray-scale level) was associated with elevated levels of fasting and postprandial plasma triglycerides (P=.0002 and P=.002), IDL cholesterol (P=.0009 and P=.006), and VLDL/chylomicron remnant cholesterol (P=.0003 and P=.0004) and triglycerides (P=.0003 and P=.003), the area under the plasma triglyceride curve 0 to 4 hours after a fatty meal (P=.001): and body mass index (P=.0001). On ANCOVA, body mass index, fasting IDL cholesterol, and fasting plasma triglycerides were independent predictors of echo-lucency. Echo-lucency was associated with increased relative plaque lipid content (P=.02).

Conclusions-Increased plasma levels of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins predict echo-lucency of carotid plaques, which is associated with increased plaque Lipid content, Because echo-lucency has been associated with a high incidence of brain infarcts on CT scans, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins may predict a plaque type particularly vulnerable to rupture.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCirculation
Volume97
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)34-40
ISSN0009-7322
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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