Carotid atherosclerosis detected by ultrasonography: A national cross-sectional study

Xiaojun Wang, Wenzhen Li, Fujian Song, Longde Wang, Qian Fu, Shiyi Cao, Yong Gan, Wei Zhang, Wei Yue, Feng Yan, Wenhuan Shi, Xaoli Zhang, Hong Zhang, Hao Zhang, Zhihong Wang, Zuxun Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Carotid atherosclerosis (CA) is a reflector of generalized atherosclerosis that is associated with systemic vascular disease. Data are limited on the epidemiology of carotid lesions in a large, nationally representative population sample. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence of CA detected by carotid ultrasonography and related risk factors based on a national survey in China.

Methods and Results: A total of 107 095 residents aged ≥40 years from the China National Stroke Prevention Project underwent carotid ultrasound examination. Participants with carotid endarterectomy or carotid stenting and those with stroke or coronary heart disease were excluded. Data from 84 880 participants were included in the analysis. CA was defined as increased intima–media thickness (IMT) ≥1 mm or presence of plaques. Of the 84 880 participants, 46.4% were men, and the mean age was 60.7±10.3 years. The standardized prevalence of CA was 36.2% overall, increased with age, and was higher in men than in women. Prevalence of CA was higher among participants living in rural areas than in urban areas. Approximately 26.5% of participants had increased IMT, and 13.9% presented plaques. There was an age‐related increase in participants with increased IMT, plaque presence, and stenosis. In multiple logistic regression analysis, older age, male sex, residence in rural areas, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia were associated with CA.

Conclusions: CA was highly prevalent in a middle‐aged and older Chinese population. This result shows the potential clinical importance of focusing on primary prevention of atherosclerosis progression.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere008701
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number8
Early online date5 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018


  • atherosclerosis
  • carotid ultrasound
  • China
  • epidemiology
  • risk factor

Cite this