Female gender is independently associated with increased carotid temperatures in patients with coronary artery disease.
Benetos G, Toutouzas K, Matsoukis I, Drakopoulou M, Mitropoulou F, Koutagiar I, Nikolaou C, Stathogiannis K, Siores E, Tousoulis D.
Int J Cardiol. 2016 Sep 15;219:130-5
Limited are the data regarding the sex differences in functional carotid artery characteristics. Microwave Radiometry (MWR) is a new noninvasive method, which measures in vivo instantly the internal temperatures of tissues, reflecting inflammation. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), gender related differences apply in carotid plaque functional characteristics, as assessed by MWR.
Consecutive patients with significant CAD were included in the study. All patients underwent evaluation of both carotid arteries by 1) ultrasound and 2) MWR. During ultrasound common carotid IMT and plaque thickness were assessed according to Mannheim consensus. During MWR measurements, temperature difference (ΔT) was assigned as maximal temperature along the carotid artery minus minimum. ΔT ≥0.90°C was assigned as high ΔT.
In total 364 patients with significant CAD were included in the study. Of these 54 were female and 310 were male. Max plaque thickness and ccIMT were similar between males and females (2.38±1.16 vs. 2.46±1.12mm, p=0.63 and 0.944±0.172 vs. 0.942±0.169mm, p=0.96). Carotid arteries of females showed higher ΔT values (1.16±0.48 vs 0.87±0.45°C, p<0.001). Interestingly, females had more commonly high ΔT values bilaterally (35.2% vs 15.5%, p=0.001). In multivariate analysis, female sex was independently associated with bilateral high ΔT, when adjusted to potential covariates (OR=2.78, 95% CI=1.42-5.45, p=0.003).
In patients with CAD, sex specific differences apply in functional but not in structural carotid artery characteristics. Whether this discrepancy has prognostic significance, remains to be clarified in future studies