Intima-media thickness has been reported to be increased in several patients with disorders such as diabetes mellitus, systolic hypertension and familial hypercholesterolemia. No data are available for the less severe but more frequent forms of hyperlipidemia. The aim of the present study was to compare the intima-media thickness in men with mild to moderate hyperlipidemia with that in age- and sex-matched normolipidemic controls.
Fifty hyperlipidemic patients and 50 controls were enrolled in this study. Intima-media thickness was evaluated from high-resolution B-mode echo-Doppler images. Blood lipids and glucose were measured using standard methods. Cigarette consumption was recorded by questionnaire.
Intima-media thickness was significantly higher in hyperlipidemic patients than in controls. Smokers, both hyperlipidemic and controls, had higher values of intima-media thickness, although not significantly so, than non-smokers. The distribution of intima-media thickness values ranged from 0.52 to 1.24 mm in hyperlipidemic patients and from 0.46 to 0.82 mm in controls. Eighteen patients with hyperlipidemia had an intima-media thickness larger than 0.82 mm and, of these, 14 had atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid arteries. Furthermore, 11 hyperlipidemic patients showed signs of cardiovascular disease and had significantly enlarged intima-media thickness compared with participants without cardiovascular disease.
Intima-media thickness in the common carotid artery is enlarged in patients with mild to moderate forms of hyperlipidemia and the highest values of intima-media thickness are frequently associated with atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid arteries and signs of cardiovascular disease.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.