The triple line pattern on carotid intima media thickness imaging and its relationship to cardiovascular risk factors in patients on lipid lowering therapy
Tania A Singh,1 Todd C Villines,2 Allen J Taylor3
1Division of Cardiology, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, 2Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, 3Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA
Background: Carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) infrequently identifies a triple line pattern (TLP) in the visualization of the internal elastic lamina. We examined the prevalence and predictors of the TLP among a consecutive series of subjects enrolled in a CIMT clinical trial, and also the effects of lipid lowering therapy.
Methods: Baseline CIMT studies of subjects with known heart disease, or high risk for heart disease, were evaluated from a single site of the Arterial Biology for the Investigation of the Treatment Effects of Reducing Cholesterol 6-HDL and LDL Treatment Strategies in Atherosclerosis trial (N=120). One sonographer obtained four views of the right and left far wall common CIMT, using a 13 MHz ultrasound probe. Images were blindly reviewed for the presence of the TLP. The TLP was defined as absent (0), possible (1), or definite (2). A composite score from all four views was calculated. A patient was defined as having the TLP if the composite score was ≥4. Univariate predictors of the TLP were explored. Follow-up ultrasounds at 14 months were also reviewed for presence of the TLP.
Results: The prevalence of the TLP at baseline was 22.5%. Among cardiovascular risk variables, systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in subjects displaying the TLP (141.3±15.6 mmHg versus 133.1±18.4 mmHg; P=0.036). There were no differences among those with, and without, the TLP, with respect to other cardiovascular risk variables (age, sex, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein, glucose, weight, waist girth, tobacco use, medications, quantitative CIMT), or image quality. During ongoing lipid lowering therapy, the prevalence of the TLP increased to 54.2% (P<0.001). However, it was unrelated to changes in lipid concentrations or cardiovascular risk variables.
Conclusion: The TLP in CIMT imaging is commonly identifiable using high-frequency ultrasound, and appears to be associated with higher systolic blood pressure. Its prevalence and incidence is unrelated to lipid parameters.
Keywords: risk factors, HTN, atherosclerosis, CIMT
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