Association of metabolic syndrome with carotid thickening and plaque in the general population: A meta-analysis

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We performed a meta-analysis of population studies reporting data on carotid intima-media thickness and plaque in patients with and without metabolic syndrome (MetS) to provide a new piece of information on the relationship of MetS with both phenotypes of vascular damage. The Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, and Cochrane CENTRAL databases were searched without time restriction up to December 31, 2016. Overall, 19 696 patients (22.2% with MetS) were included in eight studies. Common carotid intima-media thickness was greater in patients with MetS compared with those without it (788 ± 47 μm vs 727 ± 44 μm), with a standard means difference of 0.28 ± 0.06 (P = .00003). Increased intima-media thickness in patients with MetS was paralleled by a higher prevalence of plaques. The present meta-analysis shows that MetS is associated with both ultrasonographic phenotypes of carotid damage. This finding is consistent with the view of MetS as a cluster of hemodynamic and nonhemodynamic factors promoting vascular hypertrophy and plaque.

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