Simple cardiovascular risk scores are associated with the presence of imaging-detected subclinical cerebrovascular disease, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in the European Heart Journal: Cardiovascular Imaging.
Sonia S. Anand, M.D., Ph.D., from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues assessed whether simple cardiac risk scores (the non-lab-based INTERHEART risk score [IHRS] and the Framingham Risk Score) are associated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-detected subclinical cerebrovascular disease, including carotid wall volume (CWV), carotid intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH), and silent brain infarction (SBI) among 7,594 adults (55 percent women; mean age, 58 years) with no history of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers found that each 5-point increase in the IHRS was associated with a 9-mm³ increase in CWV (adjusted for sex), a 23 percent increase in IPH, and a 32 percent increase in SBI. Findings were similar for lacunar and nonlacunar brain infarction. There were also significant associations noted between the Framingham Risk Score and CWV, IPH, and SBI. Independent of risk scores, CWV was additive in its association with IPH and SBI.
"These results are important as they show that vascular disease of the carotid arteries and silent strokes which are not clinically apparent are more frequent in men and women who have more risk factors for cardiovascular disease," Anand said in a statement.
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