Abstract 2646: Aortic Arch Plaques and Risk of Vascular Events in Subjects Without Prior Stroke
BACKGROUND: Aortic arch plaques (AAP) are a risk factor for cardiovascular embolic events. However, the risk of vascular events associated with AAP in the general population is unclear.
AIM: To assess whether AAP detected by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) are associated with an increased risk of vascular events in a stroke-free cohort.
METHODS: The study cohort consisted of stroke-free subjects over age 50 from the Aortic Plaques and Risk of Ischemic Stroke (APRIS) study. AAP were assessed by multiplane TEE, and considered large if ≥ 4 mm in thickness. Vascular events including myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and vascular death were recorded during the follow-up. The association between AAP and outcomes was assessed by univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.
RESULTS: A group of 209 subjects was studied (mean age 67±9 years; 45% women; 14% whites, 30% blacks, 56% Hispanics). AAP of any size were present in 130 subjects (62%); large AAP in 50 (24%). Subjects with AAP were older (69±8 vs. 63±7 years), had higher systolic BP (146±21 vs.139±20 mmHg), were more often white (19% vs. 8%), smokers (20% vs. 9%) and more frequently had a history of coronary artery disease (26% vs. 14%) than those without AAP (all p<0.05). Lipid parameters, prevalence of atrial fibrillation and diabetes mellitus were not significantly different between the two groups. During the follow up (94±29 months) 30 events occurred (13 myocardial infarctions, 11 ischemic strokes, 6 vascular deaths). After adjustment for other risk factors, AAP of any size were not associated with an increased risk of combined vascular events (HR 1.07, 95% CI 0.44 to 2.56). The same result was observed for large AAP (HR 0.94, CI 0.34 to 2.64). Age (HR 1.05, CI 1.01 to 1.10), body mass index (HR 1.08, CI 1.01 to 1.15) and atrial fibrillation (HR 3.52, CI 1.07 to 11.61) showed independent association with vascular events. In a sub-analysis with ischemic stroke as outcome, neither AAP of any size nor large AAP were associated with an increased risk.
CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort without prior stroke, the incidental detection of AAP was not associated with an increased risk of future vascular events. Associated co-factors may affect the AAP-related risk of vascular events reported in previous studies.