Carotid atherosclerosis in men with low levels of HDL cholesterol

Timothy J. Wilt, Hanna B. Rubins, Sander J. Robins, Ward A. Riley, Dorothea Collins, Marshall Elam, Gale Rutan, James W. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: A low HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) frequently occurs in conjunction with a desirable LDL choles-terol (LDL-C) and is a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). Additionally, the presence of carotid atherosclerosis is a strong and independent predictor of morbidity and mortality in patients with CHD. This article describes the prevalence and correlates of sonographically detected carotid atherosclerosis in men with low levels of HDL-C and CHD but without elevated levels of LDL-C or total cholesterol. Methods: High-resolution B-mode ultrasonography was used to quantify intima-media wall thickness (IMT) in the common and internal carotid arteries and at the carotid artery bifurcation in 202 randomly selected male veterans with CHD and low levels of HDL-C who are participating in the VA HDL Intervention Trial. Ultrasonographic measurement of carotid artery wall stiffness was determined in a subset of 94 of these individuals. Results: The mean maximum and single greatest carotid artery IMT measurements were 1.41 and 2.58 mm, respectively. Tile prevalence of ultrasound-detected carotid atherosclerosis as defined by a mean maximum IMT ≤1.3 mm was 58.9% and by single maximum IMT ≤1.5 mm was 87.1%. IMT was associated with increased age, lower extremity arterial disease, systolic blood pressure, and ultrasonographically measured carotid artery stiffness. Conclusions: Men with low levels of HDL-C and CHD but without elevated LDL-C or total cholesterol have a very high prevalence of ultrasound-detected carotid artery atherosclero-sis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1919-1925
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Carotid artery diseases
  • Cholesterol
  • Epidemiology
  • Ultrasonics


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