To clarify carotid arterial changes in female patients with arteriosclerosis obliterans (ASO) and aortic aneurysm (AA), ultrasonographic (US) findings of the extra-cranial carotid arteries were studied in 26 patients with ASO (ASO group), and 31 patients with AA (AA group), compared to 38 controls (control group) with neither ASO nor AA. ASO was diagnosed with an ankle pressure index less than 0.9, while AA was done with computed tomography or angiography. Half of the patients with ASO were in stage II of the Fontaine clinical staging, and angiography, performed in 12, showed femoral arterial obstruction in 10. Most AA patients were abdominal aortic aneurysm. Using a high-resolution, real-time, B-mode US instrument, the diameter and wall thickness of the common carotids were measured bilaterally in the end-diastolic phase, and occlusive changes and plaque were estimated. As a risk factor for arteriosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cigarette smoking were assessed, in addition to the age, body height and weight. Mean ages of each group were 73 to 76.3 year-old. There was no significant difference between them in body height and weight. Diabetes, cigarette smoking, and cerebrovascular disease were frequent in the ASO group, whereas ischemic heart disease was frequent in the AA group. US findings revealed that carotid lesions were mostly plaque, and bilateral carotid lesions were significantly more frequent in the ASO and AA groups. The mean wall thickness of the carotids was greater in the AA and ASO groups, although dilated carotid arteries, namely arteriomegaly, was more frequent in the AA group than in the ASO and control groups. Stepwise regression analyses demonstrated that strong correlations were seen between carotid lesion and two variables [vessel diseases (ASO/AA) and cigarette smoking], between carotid diameter and three variables (age, AA, and wall thickness), and between the wall thickness and three variables (age, vessel diseases and diameter). These findings showed that atherosclerosis was not only frequent in female patients with ASO and AA, but arteriomegaly was characteristic in female patients with AA. Therefore, it suggested that circulatory disturbance in whole organs due to arteriosclerosis should be paid attention even in female patients with ASO and AA as well as male patients. Furthermore, it is considered that systemic fragility of the arterial media and ectasia could be present extensively in patients with AA.
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