The aim of the study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of carotid ultrasound (CU) to predict coronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic male marathon runners. A total of 49 male marathon runners older than 45 years (mean age 53.3 ± 7.2 years, range 45‐74 years) received CU and cardiac CT angiography (CTA) including calcium scoring (CS). Results of CU and CTA were classified binary: 1. Absence of atherosclerosis and 2. Presence of atherosclerosis. The extent of atherosclerosis was not primary end point of the study. Mean PROCAM score was 2.3% (SD 2.2, range 0.44%‐12.34%). One person had to be excluded from analysis (one missing CT‐scan). From the remaining 48 marathon runners, 17 (35.4%) had carotid atherosclerosis and 22 (45.8%) coronary atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis in either exam was diagnosed in 27/48 (56.3%) marathon runners. Diagnostic accuracy of CU to predict coronary atherosclerosis was: sensitivity 54.55% (95% CI 32.2‐75.6), specificity 80.8% (CI 60.6‐93.4), positive predictive value 70.6 (CI 44.1‐89.9), negative predictive value 67.7 (CI 48.6‐83.3) with a positive likelihood ratio of 2.84 (CI 1.18‐6.82) and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.56 (CI 0.34‐0.92). Coronary and/or carotid atherosclerosis can be detected in more than 50% of male marathon runners aged older than 45 years. The diagnostic value of carotid ultrasound to predict coronary atherosclerosis is low but higher than the accuracy of rest‐ or stress‐ECG. As outcome studies in sportsmen are still missing, the routine evaluation of the carotid arteries by ultrasound or even cardiac CT cannot be recommended at present. Furthermore, the incidence of atherosclerosis by our method in normal population is not known.
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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