RSNA: Diabetic patients at increased risk of stroke

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 - RSNA 2015 carotid artery
Image A shows the 3-D MRI intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH) sequence as acquired in the coronal plane. The red dotted line indicates the level at which the reformatted axial plane, B, was obtained. C shows the section of the right carotid artery with a region of high signal consistent with IPH. Contours are drawn for the outer wall (green) and lumen (red) with the area of IPH in this segment shaded blue in D.
Source: RSNA

CHICAGO—Individuals with diabetes may be at an increased risk of stroke, according to a presentation scheduled for the upcoming Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2015 annual meeting.

Tishan Maraj, MBBS, imaging analyst at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, and colleagues used 3D MRI to study patients’ carotid arteries for evidence of intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH), which is a sign of advanced atherosclerotic disease.

“A recent analysis of multiple studies has shown that people with carotid artery narrowing and IPH have a five- to six-times higher risk of stroke in the near future compared to people without," Maraj said in a statement.

Maraj et al. used 3D MRI on 159 type 2 diabetic patients with an average age of 63. A total of 37 of those patients had IPH in at least one carotid artery, and five patients had IPH in both carotid arteries.

"It was surprising that so many diabetic patients had this feature," Maraj said. "We already knew that people with diabetes face three to five times the risk of stroke, so perhaps IPH is an early indicator of stroke risk that should be followed up."

Maraj noted that 3D MRI has two benefits over 2D MRI when it comes to identifying carotid artery plaques: you can image the entire artery, and you can pinpoint the area of interest in less time.

The research team will present its full findings at RSNA 2015, which runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4. Additional RSNA coverage can be found here and here.