Functional Carotid Ultrasound Markers of Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Men With Cardiovascular Risk Factors

  • Krunoslav Buljan* Osijek University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Osijek
  • Mirta Benšić Department of Mathematics, University of Osijek, Osijek
  • Vesna Buljan Institute of Public Health for the Osijek-Baranya County, Osijek
  • Mirjana Vladetić Osijek University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Osijek
  • Silva Butković Soldo Osijek University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Osijek


Aim: The aim of this study was to compare the most commonly used ultrasound parameters of elasticity and stiffness of the arterial wall in the detection of carotid subclinical atherosclerosis (SA) in vascular healthy men with one of the most prominent cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF).

Methods: Total of 120 vascular healthy men between 33 and 59 years of age ( (SD)=49.7(6.93)) were allocated into hypertension, diabetes, smokers and control group of respondents without CVRF. Ultrasound examination of carotid arteries was used to measure intima-media thickness and maximal and minimal lumen diameter. Along with the blood pressure of all respondents, the following markers of elasticity/stiffness of arterial wall were calculated: distensibility coefficient (DC), compliance coefficient (CC), Young's elasticity modulus (YEM) and β stiffness index (β).

Results: DC, CC and β indicated significantly lower elasticity and higher stiffness of arterial wall in hypertension and diabetic groups of respondents without CVRF (multiple comparison, p<0.001). There were significant changes in functional characteristics of carotid arteries present between respondents-smokers and the control group detected by DC and β (multiple comparison, p<0,05). There were 94 respondents (78%) with subclinical carotid atherosclerosis criteria. ROC analysis indicated that DC, β and CC (AUC 0.811, 0.810, 0.799) are good markers for SA.

Conclusions: In conclusion, it is possible to use an ultrasound in detection of changes of elasticity/stiffness in arterial wall caused by the major CVRF in vascular healthy men. DC and β seem to be the best indicators of the presence/absence of subclinical carotid atherosclerosis.