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Association between Carotid Plaque Features on CTA and Cerebrovascular Ischemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

TitleAssociation between Carotid Plaque Features on CTA and Cerebrovascular Ischemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBaradaran H, Al-Dasuqi K, Knight-Greenfield A, Giambrone A, Delgado D, Ebani EJ, Kamel H, Gupta A
JournalAJNR Am J Neuroradiol
Date Published2017 Dec

BACKGROUND: CTA is a widely available imaging examination that may allow the evaluation of high-risk carotid plaque features.

PURPOSE: Our aim was to evaluate the association between specific carotid plaque features on CTA and ipsilateral cerebrovascular ischemia.

DATA SOURCES: We performed a systematic review of Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library from inception to March 2016 for articles that evaluated the relationship between CTA-detected carotid plaque features and ischemic events, defined as ipsilateral ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack.

STUDY SELECTION: Sixteen studies were ultimately included after screening 12,557.

DATA ANALYSIS: Two readers recorded data from each study and assessed the study quality with all disagreements resolved by a third reader. A random-effects OR was used to evaluate the association between cerebrovascular ischemia and each of the evaluated plaque features.

DATA SYNTHESIS: We found significant positive relationships with cerebrovascular ischemia for the presence of soft plaque (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.4-6.0), plaque ulceration (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.4-3.4), and increased common carotid artery wall thickness (OR, 6.2; 95% CI, 2.5-15.6). We found a significant negative relationship between calcified plaque and ipsilateral ischemia (OR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4-0.7).

LIMITATIONS: We found heterogeneity in the existing literature secondary to lack of standardized plaque features and clinical definitions.

CONCLUSIONS: Soft plaque, plaque ulceration, and increased common carotid artery wall thickness on CTA are associated with ipsilateral cerebrovascular ischemia, while calcified plaque is negatively associated with downstream ischemic events.

Alternate JournalAJNR Am J Neuroradiol
PubMed ID29074638