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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 572-576
Correlation of carotid intimal-medial thickness with estimated glomerular filtration rate and cardiovascular risk factors in chronic kidney disease

Department of Medicine, JSS Medical College, Ramanuja Road, Mysore, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication9-May-2014


Carotid intimal-medial thickness (CIMT) predicts future vascular events in the general population. However, the correlation of traditional cardiovascular risk factors and stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) with CIMT is not studied extensively. To determine the correlation of CIMT with traditional cardiovascular risk factors like age, body mass index (BMI), dyslipidemia and various stages of CKD patients, CIMT was measured by means of high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography in 70 CKD patients and compared with the 30 healthy controls. The mean CIMT in patients was 0.86 ± 0.21 mm vs 0.63 ± 0.17 mm in healthy age- and sex-matched controls (P <0.001). There was a significant univariate positive correlation between CIMT and age (r = 0.605, P <0.001), BMI (r = 0.377, P = 0.001), total cholesterol (r = 0.236, P ≤0.018) and serum triglyceride (r = 0.387, P ≤0.001). No statistically significant correlation was found between mean CIMT and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (r = -0.02, P = 0.30), very low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Atherosclerotic changes very well correlate with the traditional cardiovascular risk factors like age, BMI, serum total cholesterol and serum triglyceride level in CKD patients. Even though CIMT was marginally more in the late stages of CKD patients, no statistically significant correlation was found with CIMT and eGFR.

How to cite this article:
Chhajed N, Subhash Chandra B J, Shetty MS, Shetty C. Correlation of carotid intimal-medial thickness with estimated glomerular filtration rate and cardiovascular risk factors in chronic kidney disease. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2014;25:572-6

How to cite this URL:
Chhajed N, Subhash Chandra B J, Shetty MS, Shetty C. Correlation of carotid intimal-medial thickness with estimated glomerular filtration rate and cardiovascular risk factors in chronic kidney disease. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Oct 26];25:572-6. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2014/25/3/572/132186

   Introduction Top

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with premature mortality, decreased quality of life and increased health care expenditures. [1],[2] Many patients with CKD have cardiovascular disease and die prematurely from this condition instead of surviving long enough to face dialysis or transplantation. [3],[4] Surveys have shown that the risk for cardiovascular disease increases at much earlier stages of renal disease, as CKD patients have an excess of traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. [3] Renal disease also engenders an environment that promotes cardiovascular injury in ways that are more or less specific to CKD. Calcium and phosphorous dysregulation with vascular calcification, anemia and hyper-homocysteinemia are among the most often cited cardiovascular liabilities of CKD. [4]

Most evidence about the nature of the vascular disease in CKD patients stems from those on chronic dialysis, and there is little information about how this disease evolves in the early stages of the disease and whether it correlates with the traditional risk factors such as dyslipidemia, diabetes and hypertension; this is more difficult to determine because overt cardiovascular disease is less common in patients with mild renal impairment.

Atherosclerosis, unless in a severe form, is often asymptomatic; hence, a direct examination of vessel wall is necessary to detect the affected individuals in early stages. Carotid artery intimal-medial thickness (CIMT) is a well-established index of systemic atherosclerosis that correlates well with the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke in the CKD population. [5],[6],[7]

The aim of our study was to determine the relationship between dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis in CKD patients through the measurement of CIMT.

   Patients and Methods Top

We studied 70 CKD patients at the Medicine/ Nephrology inpatient/outpatient department of the JSS Hospital, Mysore, and 30 age- and sex-matched controls. We excluded from the study patients with acute renal failure (ARF), those with a history of carotid surgery, those less than 18 years of age, smokers, alcoholics and those who were on hypolipidemic drugs or having a previous history of ischemic heart disease or stroke. The study patients were investigated with complete hemogram, urinalysis, blood urea levels, serum creatinine levels and lipid profile [total cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein -cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (VLDL-C)]. All the biochemical parameters were measured according to the standard laboratory techniques. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was calculated using the modification of diet in renal disease (MDRD) formula.

The CIMT was measured using B-mode ultrasound and a 7.5 MHz transducer. Intimal-medial thickness was defined as the distance between the leading edge of the first echogenic line (lumen-intima interface) and the second echogenic line (media-adventitia interface) of the far wall. Three measurements were taken at 0.5, 1 and 2 cm below the carotid bifurcation of the common carotid artery on each side, and their arithmetic averages were calculated. The intimal-medial thickness of both sides (right and left) was also calculated and the average of these two values was calculated. All the CIMT measurements were performed by a single radiologist. The presence of plaques was noted. Plaques were defined as focal widening relative to the adjacent segment, with protrusion into the lumen. The extent of the lesions was not quantified.

   Statistical Analysis Top

The statistical software SPSS Ver. 13 was used for statistical analysis. The mean ± standard deviation was calculated. Pair-wise comparison between the cases and controls was performed for all parameters using Student's Unpaired t-test. The values of P <0.05 were considered as significant. The qualitative variables were compared using the chi-square test. Univariate correlation analysis was used to confirm the significance of the variables of the CIMT.

   Result Top

The study patients comprised 39 men and 31 women with a mean age of 44.5 years (range 20-75 years). The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was 17 ± 18.4 mL/ min/1.73 m 2 .

When the study group was divided according to the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) stages, there were 43 patients in stage 5 (eGFR <15 mL/min), 14 in stage 4 (eGFR 15-29 mL/min), 6 in stage 3 (eGFR 30-59 mL/min) 6 in stage 2 (GFR 60-89 mL/min) and 6 in stage 1 (eGFR >90 mL/min). Diabetes was the leading etiology of CKD in 29 (41.4%) patients, chronic glomerulonephritis in 13 (18.6%) patients and essential hypertension in 11 (15.7%) patients. CIMT was significantly increased in the patient group (CIMT 0.86 ± 0.21 mm compared with the control group (0.63 ± 0.17 mm) [Figure 1] (P <0.001). The mean CIMT in CKD patients significantly correlated with traditional risk factors including age (r = 0.605; P <0.001), body mass index (r = 0.377; P <0.001), serum triglyceride levels (r = 0.387; P <0.001) and serum cholesterol (r = 0.236; P <0.018) [Figure 2]. However, no correlation of CIMT was observed with calcium-phosphorous product (r = 0.184, P = 0.13), serum HDL-C (r = 0.191; P = 0.057), VLDL-C (r = 0.08; P = 0.398) and LDL (r = 0.233; P = 0.019). There was a statistically significant difference of the mean CIMT in diabetic (0.93 ± 0.25) and non- diabetic patients (0.80 ± 0.14) (P ≤0.01) [Figure 3]. Mean CIMT did not directly correlate with eGFR (r = -0130, P <0.283).
Figure 1: Distribution of subjects by mean carotid intimal–medial thickness (CIMT) values.

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Figure 2: Correlation between carotid intimal–medial thickness (CIMT) and age, body mass index (BMI), triglyceride (TG) and total cholesterol (TC).

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Figure 3: Distribution of mean carotid intimal– medial thickness (CIMT) in diabetic chronic kidney disease (CKD) and non-diabetic CKD patients.

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   Discussion Top

The results of this study show that the CIMT is significantly increased in the pre-dialysis CKD patients compared with controls. CIMT measurement is a non-invasive technique to predict the atherosclerotic burden in these patients.

In a study by Shoji et al, [8] no significant difference was found in the CIMT between the pre-dialysis CKD and hemodialysis patients (P = 0.821). They concluded that atherosclerosis might be caused by renal failure and/or metabolic abnormalities secondary to renal failure. In contrast, a study by Kennedy et al [9] found an increased CIMT in pre-dialysis patients. Preston et al [10] reported that patients with stage 3 to 4 CKD had increased CIMT compared with normotensive volunteers. Lu Xia Zhang et al, [11] in their study on stage 2-3 CKD patients (i.e., mild and moderate renal insufficiency), found significantly increased CIMT in these patients and concluded that arterial change might occur in the course of CKD earlier than previously believed.

Previous studies showed that CIMT was associated with traditional atherosclerotic risk factors (such as age, obesity, dyslipidemia and diabetes) as well as factors that reflect the state of inflammation: Fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, leptin, adhesion molecules, growth factors or serological markers of certain viral infections. [12],[13],[14],[15] In our study, we did not find a difference in eGFR between subjects with and without increased CIMT. In the linear regression model, factors associated with CIMT were predominantly traditional atherosclerotic risk factors, whereas eGFR was not independently associated with CIMT, which indicates that increased CIMT in patients with CKD might be caused at least in part by traditional risk factors.

A population-based study from Canada [16] showed that ethnicity or other factors linked to ethnicity might mediate the effect of atherosclerosis on the risk for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, findings from the western countries could not be fully extrapolated to Indians. Therefore, additional studies are needed to evaluate the relation between CIMT and cardiovascular events or mortality in the different races of patients with CKD.

There were certain limitations to our study. First, its cross-sectional design limited the conclusion on the mechanism or temporal relation. Non-traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as serum homocystine levels, lipoprotein (Lpa), etc., were not studied. Therefore, further studies are required to determine the mechanism of atherosclerosis in early stages of kidney disease. Measurement of arterial wall stiffness will provide additional information regarding the effects of renal failure on functional changes of the arterial walls in patients with CKD.

In summary, our study indicates that in our population, arterial changes were observed in the early stage of CKD. In addition to age, sex and systolic blood pressure, increased total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were related independently to the CIMT. Traditional factors might contribute to the increased CIMT, whereas the relationship between this increase and patient prognosis needs to be investigated further.

   References Top

1.Go A S, Chertow GM, Fan D, McCulloch CE, Go AS, Chertow GM, Fan D, McCulloch CE, Hsu C. Chronic kidney diseases and the risk of death, cardiovascular events, and hospitalization. N Eng J Med 2004;351:1296-305.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Briet M, Bozec E, Laurent S, et al. Arterial stiffness and enlargement in mild-to-moderate chronic kidney disease. Kidney Int 2006; 69:350-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Sarnak MJ, Levey AS, Schoolwerth AC, et al. Kidney disease as a risk factor for development of cardiovascular disease: A statement from the American Heart Association Councils on Kidney in cardiovascular disease, High Blood Pressure Research, Clinical Cardiology, and Epidemiology and Prevention. Circulation 2003;108:2154-69.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Goodman WG, London G, Amann K, et al. Vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis 2004;43:572-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.O'Leary DH, Polak JF, Kronmal RA, Manolio TA, Burke GL, Wolfson SK Jr. Carotid intima and media thickness as a risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke in older adults". N Engl J Med 1999;340:14-22.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Bots M, Hoes A, Koudstaal P, Hofman A, Grobbee D. "Common carotid intima-media thickness and risk of stroke and myocardial infarction (The Rotterdam study)". Circulation 1997;96:1432-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Kawagishi T, Nishizawa Y, Konishi T, et al. High resolution B-mode ultrasonography in evaluation of atherosclerosis in uremia. Kidney Int 1995;48:820-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Shoji T, Emoto M, Tabata T, et al. Advanced atherosclerosis in predialysis patients with chronic renal failure. Kidney Int 2002;61: 2187-92.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Kennedy R, Case C, Fathi R, Johnson D, Isbel N, Marwick TH. Does renal failure cause an atherosclerotic milieu in patients with end-stage renal disease? Am J Med 2001;110:198-204.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Preston E, Ellis MR, Kulinskaya E, Davies AH, Brown EA. Association between carotid artery intima-media thickness and cardiovascular risk factors in CKD. Am J Kidney Dis 2005;46:856-62.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Zhang L, Zuo L, Wang F, et al. Cardiovascular disease in early stages of chronic kidney disease in a Chinese population. J Am Soc Nephrol 2007;17:2617-21.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Taniwaki H, Kawagishi T, Emoto M, et al. Correlation between the intima-media thickness of the carotid artery and aortic pulse-wave velocity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Vessel wall properties in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 1999;22:1851-7.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Zoccali C, Benedetto FA, Maas R, et al. Asymmetric dimethylarginine, C-reactive protein, and carotid intima- media thickness in end-stage renal disease. J Am Soc Nephrol 2002;13:490-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Malatino LS, Mallamaci F, Benedetto FA, et al. Hepatocyte growth factor predicts survival and relates to inflammation and intima media thickness in end-stage renal disease. Am J Kidney Dis 2000;36:945-52.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Sitzer M, Markus HS, Mendall MA, Liehr R, Knorr U, Steinmetz H. C-Reactive protein and carotid intimal medial thickness in a community population. J Cardiovasc Risk 2002;9:97-103.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Anand SS, Yusuf S, Vuksan V, et al. Differences in risk factors, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease between ethnic groups in Canada: The Study of Health assessment and Risk in Ethnic groups (SHARE). Lancet 2000;356:279-84.  Back to cited text no. 16

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nitesh Chhajed
Department of Medicine, JSS Medical College, Mysore, Karnataka
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.132186

PMID: 24821154

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