Structural association between the carotid artery and the left ventricle in a general population in Northern Italy: the Vobarno study

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ObjectiveTo evaluate the interrelationships between structural alterations in the carotid arteries and left ventricular geometric patterns in a middle-aged general population.Design and methodsWe studied 223 untreated subjects (106 females, 117 males; aged 48–64 years) living in a small town in Northern Italy (Vobarno, Brescia), using a cross-sectional design. The left ventricular mass index was assessed by echocardiography, while the intima–media thickness and the occurrence of plaque were evaluated by ultrasound. Blood pressure was determined by clinic measurements and by 24 h noninvasive ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.ResultsAccording to the presence of left ventricular hypertrophy (left ventricular mass index > 50 g/m2.7 in males and > 47 g/m2.7 in females) or concentric left ventricular remodelling (normal left ventricular mass index and relative wall thickness > 0.42), the subjects were divided into four groups: 124 subjects with normal left ventricular geometry, 73 subjects with left ventricular hypertrophy (55 with eccentric and 18 with concentric hypertrophy) and 26 subjects with concentric remodelling. The common carotid intima–media thickness and cross-sectional area were significantly greater in the subjects with concentric left ventricular hypertrophy (analysis of variance, P < 0.05) than in those with normal left ventricular geometry. A significantly higher number of plaques was observed in subjects with concentric and eccentric left ventricular hypertrophy.ConclusionsIn a general population of unselected middle-aged subjects, the presence of concentric left ventricular hypertrophy was associated with an increase in intima–media thickness and with the presence of plaque in the carotid arteries, possibly contributing to the worse prognosis observed in this group of patients.

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