Definition of common carotid wall thickness affects risk classification in relation to degree of internal carotid artery stenosis: the Plaque At RISK (PARISK) study

J. Steinbuch, A. C. van Dijk, F. H. B. M. Schreuder, M. T. B. Truijman, J. Hendrikse, P. J. Nederkoorn, A. van der Lugt, E. Hermeling, A. P. G. Hoeks, W. H. Mess*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Mean or maximal intima-media thickness (IMT) is commonly used as surrogate endpoint in intervention studies. However, the effect of normalization by surrounding or median IMT or by diameter is unknown. In addition, it is unclear whether IMT inhomogeneity is a useful predictor beyond common wall parameters like maximal wall thickness, either absolute or normalized to IMT or lumen size. We investigated the interrelationship of common carotid artery (CCA) thickness parameters and their association with the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis degree.

Methods: CCA thickness parameters were extracted by edge detection applied to ultrasound B-mode recordings of 240 patients. Degree of ICA stenosis was determined from CT angiography.

Results: Normalization of maximal CCA wall thickness to median IMT leads to large variations. Higher CCA thickness parameter values are associated with a higher degree of ipsilateral ICA stenosis (p <0.001), though IMT inhomogeneity does not provide extra information. When the ratio of wall thickness and diameter instead of absolute maximal wall thickness is used as risk marker for having moderate ipsilateral ICA stenosis (> 50%), 55 arteries (15%) are reclassified to another risk category.

Conclusions: It is more reasonable to normalize maximal wall thickness to end-diastolic diameter rather than to IMT, affecting risk classification and suggesting modification of the Mannheim criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular Ultrasound
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2017


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Stenosis
  • Carotid IMT
  • Ultrasound
  • Carotid artery imaging
  • MEN

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