The Determination of the Plaque Burden on the Carotid Artery With Ultrasound Significantly Improves the Risk Prediction in Middle-Aged Subjects Compared to PROCAM: An Outcome Study

Ansgar Adams, Waldemar Bojara, Michel Romanens


Background: There are only few data about the predictive value of atherosclerosis imaging beyond traditional risk calculators in younger subjects.

Methods: We assessed cardiovascular risk prediction with the PROCAM (the Prospective Cardiovascular Munster Study) risk equation and with carotid plaque imaging (determination of total plaque area (TPA) and the maximum plaque thickness with ultrasound) in subjects without known cardiovascular diseases. The follow-up was generated during follow-up examinations as part of preventive medical examinations or by telephone calls.

Results: In 2,508 subjects aged 35 - 64 years (50 ± 8 years, 34% women), 132 (5.3%) cardiovascular events occurred (42 myocardial infarction, 17 bypass surgery, 31 stent implantation, 42 coronary artery disease defined by invasive angiography) during a mean follow-up period of 5.4 (1 - 12) years. TPA in combination with the maximum plaque thickness (type III - IV b plaques ) tended to be superior compared to TPA, and both plaque imaging methods were superior to PROCAM: area under the curve (AUC) 0.9 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.91 - 0.89) vs. 0.89 (95% CI: 0.90 - 0.88), P = 0.2 vs. 0.82 (95% CI: 0.84 - 0.81), P = 0.001; positive predictive value (PPV) 27% (95% CI: 0.31 - 0.22) vs. 19% (95% CI: 0.22 - 0.16) vs.19% (95% CI: 0.27 - 0.13).

Conclusions: Amount of carotid plaque assessed by carotid plaque imaging significantly improves cardiovascular risk prediction beyond the PROCAM risk equation.

Cardiol Res. 2020;11(4):233-238


Total plaque area; Carotid ultrasound; Cardiovascular risk; Coronary disease

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Cardiology Research, bimonthly, ISSN 1923-2829 (print), 1923-2837 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
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