Distribution, severity and risk factors for aortic atherosclerosis in cerebral ischemia

Souvik Sen, Katherine Wu, Robert McNamara, Joao Lima, Steven Piantadosi, Stephen M. Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Significant thoracic aortic plaques (> 4 mm) are an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke. Within 1 week of stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) onset, 105 consecutive patients underwent transesophageal echocardiography assessment of aortic plaque thickness using the criteria of Amarenco et al. A proximo-distal gradient was found in the distribution of aortic atheroma > 4 mm (p = 0.04). Symptomatic coronary artery disease was associated with plaque in the proximal aorta (p = 0.03); extracranial carotid stenosis > 70% was associated with plaque in the arch and descending aorta (p < 0.01). The severity of aortic plaque was associated with age on multivariable analysis (p = 0.0003 to p < 0.01). Only smoking showed predictive regional specificity (p = 0.03); no other risk factors were associated with aortic atheroma in any segment. In stroke/TIA patients, carotid stenosis > 70% predicts aortic arch atheroma plaques > 4 mm which may predispose to reinfarction after endarterectomy. Atheroma of the ascending aorta is associated with ischemic heart disease, and cardiac screening should be considered in asymptomatic patients. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Aorta
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Risk factors
  • Stroke
  • Transesophageal echocardiography
  • Transient ischemic attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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