Carotid artery stenosis

The prevalence of hemodynamically significant carotid artery stenosis (CAS) increases significantly with age. Estimates indicate that 5 in 1,000 individuals aged 50−60 years old and approximately 10% of individuals over the age of 80 years have CAS greater than 50%. Other risk factors include diet, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and family history of CAS. These factors are more prevalent among African Americans and Hispanics resulting in a greater risk of CAS. CAS is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke, thus early detection of CAS is very important in these individuals. Various techniques are used to diagnose CAS, including duplex ultrasonography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). MRA offers a three-dimensional image of the carotid arteries, without exposing the patient to ionizing radiation, although gadolinium is required. Because of the higher spatial resolution images that can be obtained in the equilibrium-phase, blood-pool agents offer the potential for improved diagnosis of CAS.

Created 08/09/2011 Last updated 15/05/2012