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Carotid artery stiffness, digital endothelial function, and coronary calcium in patients with essential thrombocytosis, free of overt atherosclerotic disease

Abstract

Background

Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are at increased risk for atherothrombotic events. Our aim was to determine if patients with essential thrombocytosis (ET), a subtype of MPNs, free of symptomatic atherosclerosis, have greater carotid artery stiffness, worse endothelial function, greater coronary calcium and carotid plaque burden than control subjects.

Patients and methods

40 ET patients without overt vascular disease, and 42 apparently healthy, age and sex-matched control subjects with comparable classical risk factors for atherosclerosis and Framingham risk of coronary disease were enrolled. All subjects were examined by physical and laboratory testing, carotid echo-tracking ultrasound, digital EndoPat pletysmography and CT coronary calcium scoring.

Results

No significant differences were found between ET patients and controls in carotid plaque score [1 (0-1.25) vs. 0 (0-2), p=0.30], β- index of carotid stiffness [7.75 (2.33) vs. 8.44 (2,81), p=0.23], pulse wave velocity [6,21 (1,00) vs. 6.45 (1.04) m/s; p=0.46], digital reactive hyperemia index [2.10 (0.57) vs. 2.35 (0.62), p=0.07], or augmentation index [19 (3-30) vs. 13 (5-22) %, p=0.38]. Overall coronary calcium burden did not differ between groups [Agatston score 0.1 (0-16.85) vs. 0 (0-8.55), p=0.26]. However, significantly more ET patients had an elevated coronary calcium score of >160 [6/40 vs. 0/42, p < 0.01].

Conclusions

No significant differences between groups were found in carotid artery morphology and function, digital endothelial function or overall coronary calcium score. Significantly more ET patients had an elevated coronary calcium score of >160, indicating high cardiovascular risk, not predicted by the Framingham equation.

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