Common carotid intima-media thickness measurements in cardiovascular risk prediction: a meta-analysis

H.M. den Ruijter, S.A.E. Peters, T.J. Anderson, A.R. Britton, J.M. Dekker, M.J.C. Eijkemans, G. Engstrom, G.W. Evans, J. de Graaf, D.E. Grobbee, B. Hedblad, A. Hofman, S. Holewijn, A. Ikeda, M. Kavousi, K. Kitagawa, A. Kitamura, H Koffijberg, E Lonn, M.W. LorenzE.B. Mathiesen, G. Nijpels, S. Okazaki, D.H. O'Leary, J. Polak, J.F. Price, C. Robertson, C.M. Rembold, M. Rosvall, T. Rundek, J.T. Salonen, M. Sitzer, C.D. Stehouwer, J.C. Witteman, K.G.M. Moons, M.L. Bots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


CONTEXT: The evidence that measurement of the common carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) improves the risk scores in prediction of the absolute risk of cardiovascular events is inconsistent.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether common CIMT has added value in 10-year risk prediction of first-time myocardial infarctions or strokes, above that of the Framingham Risk Score.

DATA SOURCES: Relevant studies were identified through literature searches of databases (PubMed from 1950 to June 2012 and EMBASE from 1980 to June 2012) and expert opinion.

STUDY SELECTION: Studies were included if participants were drawn from the general population, common CIMT was measured at baseline, and individuals were followed up for first-time myocardial infarction or stroke.

DATA EXTRACTION: Individual data were combined into 1 data set and an individual participant data meta-analysis was performed on individuals without existing cardiovascular disease.

RESULTS: We included 14 population-based cohorts contributing data for 45,828 individuals. During a median follow-up of 11 years, 4007 first-time myocardial infarctions or strokes occurred. We first refitted the risk factors of the Framingham Risk Score and then extended the model with common CIMT measurements to estimate the absolute 10-year risks to develop a first-time myocardial infarction or stroke in both models. The C statistic of both models was similar (0.757; 95% CI, 0.749-0.764; and 0.759; 95% CI, 0.752-0.766). The net reclassification improvement with the addition of common CIMT was small (0.8%; 95% CI, 0.1%-1.6%). In those at intermediate risk, the net reclassification improvement was 3.6% in all individuals (95% CI, 2.7%-4.6%) and no differences between men and women.

CONCLUSION: The addition of common CIMT measurements to the Framingham Risk Score was associated with small improvement in 10-year risk prediction of first-time myocardial infarction or stroke, but this improvement is unlikely to be of clinical importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-803
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA - The Journal of The American Medical Association
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2012


  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stroke
  • Journal Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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