Myocardial scars are an underestimated cardiovascular burden in patients with internal carotid artery stenosis

O. Bruder*, S. Göricke, P. Hunold, M. Lowitsch, J. Barkhausen, G. V. Sabin, M. Forsting, J. B. Fiebach

*Corresponding author for this work
5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis have an increased incidence of coronary heart disease. Evidence about the incidence of clinically silent myocardial infarction (MI) in these patients is limited. Contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging allows for the detection of minor myocardial damage. Objective: We tested whether patients with ICA stenosis exhibit a relevant incidence of silent MI when assessed by CMR. Methods: In a single-center study, 77 consecutive patients (age 68 ± 7 years) with suspected ICA stenosis were imaged prospectively with a combined MRI protocol including T1, T2, diffusion-weighted imaging, fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, and contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CEMRA) imaging of the brain and a short (11 min) CMR protocol with left ventricular function and late gadolinium enhancement imaging. Blinded to any clinical information, two readers evaluated the cardiac and neuroradiologic examinations. Results: Of 154 imaged ICA, 85 presented with stenosis and 17 were occluded. In 7 patients, the suspected ICA stenosis could not be confirmed by CEMRA. In the remaining 70 patients with ICA stenosis, 34.3% had cerebral lesions (15.7% with a homodynamic pattern,18.6% with territorial infarction). CMR detected MI in 29 (41%) patients, whereas ECG and medical history enabled diagnosis in only 7 (10%) patients. Conclusions: ICA stenosis patients have a higher incidence of myocardial scars proving silent MI when detected by contrast-enhanced CMR than clinically expected. Whether the presence and extent of silent MIs detected by CMR affect peri-interventional risk and prognosis of ICA stenosis patients remains to be evaluated in a large patient cohort with long-term follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2009


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