Author(s): Polak JF, Kronmal RA, Tell GS, OLeary DH, Savage PJ,
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Common carotid artery (CCA) diameter is thought to increase as a consequence of hypertension and may increase as the thickness of the arterial wall increases. The purpose of this study was to determine CCA dimensions and correlate them with clinical features. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional, community-based study of adults 65 years of age and older, measuring inner and outer diameter of the CCA in vivo with carotid sonography. Findings were correlated against risk factors for atherosclerosis, CCA intima-media thickness (IMT), and echocardiographically determined left ventricular (LV) mass. RESULTS: Independent variables showing strong positive associations with outer and inner CCA diameter included age, male sex, height, weight, and systolic blood pressure. As an independent variable, LV mass (r = .40 and r = .37, respectively; P < .00001) had a strong positive relation to inner and outer CCA diameters. The relationship between diameter and IMT was different. In a model that controlled for age, sex, and estimated LV mass, an increase of 1 mm in CCA IMT corresponded to a 1.9 mm increase in the outer diameter of the artery (P < .00001) but was not significantly related to the inner diameter (slope = +0.07 mm; P = .26). CONCLUSIONS: Increase in the outer diameter of the CCA is associated with subject size, sex, age, echocardiographically estimated LV mass, and CCA IMT. Increases in internal diameter of the CCA have similar relationships but are not related to IMT. This supports the hypothesis that the human CCA dilates as the thickness of the artery wall increases.
This article was published in Stroke
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research