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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Impact of family history of premature coronary disease on carotid ultrasound and coronary calcium findings Taraboanta, Catalin


First degree relatives (FDRs) of subjects with early onset of coronary heart disease (CHD) have higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. We verified early CHD by angiography in the index patients and extensively phenotyped their FDRs to investigate the relationship of traditional and non-traditional cardiovascular risk factors to carotid ultrasound and coronary calcium scoring findings. B-mode carotid ultrasound was used to assess the combined intima-media thickness and plaque burden in 111 FDRs. The biochemical and anthropometrical characteristics of the FDRs were compared with those of healthy controls matched for sex, age, ethnicity and BMI. Odds ratios indicate that FDRs are more likely to have positive carotid ultrasound findings compared to controls; 2.23 (95% CI 1.14 – 4.37) for intima-media thickness and 2.3 (95% CI 1.22 - 4.35) for average total thickness. In multivariate analysis positive carotid ultrasound findings were higher in FDRs independent of age, gender, total cholesterol over HDL-c ratio, systolic blood pressure and smoking but not homocysteine which had higher values in FDRs compared to controls. In conclusion FDRs of patients with angiographically confirmed CHD have higher burden of subclinical atherosclerosis even when considered in the context of traditional risk factors. Coronary artery calcium scoring (CAC), assessed by 64-slice multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT), was used to assess burden of subclinical atherosclerosis in 57 FDRs compared to controls. FDRs have a two-fold increase in risk of having CAC positive findings; odds ratios for the 75th percentile was 1.96 (95%CI 1.04 – 3.67, p<0.05) while for the 90th percentile odds ratio was 2.59 (95% 1.232 – 5.473, p<0.05). In summary, the risk of significant CAC findings, measured by 64-slice MDCT, is two-fold higher in FDRs than controls. These findings correlate highly with carotid ultrasound findings in the same cohort. Different thresholds for CAC may be appropriate when assessing male versus female FDRs. Together increased carotid ultrasound findings and CAC scoring results in FDRs of patients with validated early onset of CHD suggest these imaging techniques as potentially useful tools in cardiovascular risk assessment that will go above and beyond the current diagnostic algorithms.

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