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Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness and Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Women With Remote Histories of Preeclampsia: Results From a Rochester Epidemiology Project-Based Study and Meta-analysis



      To measure carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, in postmenopausal women with and without histories of preeclampsia and to synthesize these results with those from prior studies of CIMT performed 10 or more years after preeclamptic pregnancies.

      Patients and Methods

      Forty women (median age, 59 years) with histories of preeclampsia and 40 with histories of normotensive pregnancy (confirmed by medical record review) were selected from women who resided and gave birth in Olmsted County, Minnesota, between January 1, 1976, and December 31, 1982. The participants were identified and recruited in 2014-2015, and CIMT was measured by B-mode ultrasonography. Meta-analysis included CIMT studies that were performed 10 or more years after preeclamptic pregnancies and which were identified through PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 statistic. Standardized mean difference was used as a measure of effect size.


      Carotid artery intima-media thickness, expressed as a median (interquartile range), was greater in the preeclamptic than in the normotensive group (0.80 mm [0.75-0.85 mm] vs 0.73 mm [0.70-0.78]; P=.004); the odds of having CIMT higher than threshold (0.77 mm) was statistically significant after adjusting for confounding factors (odds ratio, 3.17; 95% CI, 1.10-9.14). A meta-analysis of 10 studies conducted 10 or more years post partum included 813 women with and 2874 without histories of preeclampsia. Carotid artery intima-media thickness was greater among women with histories of preeclampsia, with a standardized mean difference of 0.18 and 95% CI of 0.05 to 0.30 mm (P=.004).


      Among women with histories of preeclampsia, CIMT may identify those with subclinical atherosclerosis, thus offering an opportunity for early intervention.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BMI (body mass index), CAC (coronary artery calcification), CIMT (carotid artery intima-media thickness), CVD (cardiovascular disease), DBP (diastolic blood pressure), HOMA-IR (homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance), IQR (interquartile range), OR (odds ratio), PO (proportional odds), SBP (systolic blood pressure), REP (Rochester Epidemiology Project), SMD (standardized mean difference)
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