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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 10734-10747; doi:10.3390/ijms160510734

Ultrasound Assessment of Carotid Plaque Echogenicity Response to Statin Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå 901 87, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William Chi-shing Cho
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 12 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atherosclerosis and Vascular Imaging)
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Objective: To evaluate in a systematic review and meta-analysis model the effect of statin therapy on carotid plaque echogenicity assessed by ultrasound. Methods: We have systematically searched electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Center Register) up to April, 2015, for studies evaluating the effect of statins on plaque echogenicity. Two researchers independently determined the eligibility of studies evaluating the effect of statin therapy on carotid plaque echogenicity that used ultrasound and grey scale median (GSM) or integrated back scatter (IBS). Results: Nine out of 580 identified studies including 566 patients’ carotid artery data were meta-analyzed for a mean follow up of 7.2 months. A consistent increase in the echogenicity of carotid artery plaques, after statin therapy, was reported. Pooled weighted mean difference % (WMD) on plaque echogenicity after statin therapy was 29% (95% CI 22%–36%), p < 0.001, I2 = 92.1%. In a meta-regression analysis using % mean changes of LDL, HDL and hsCRP as moderators, it was shown that the effects of statins on plaque echogenicity were related to changes in hsCRP, but not to LDL and HDL changes from the baseline. The effect of statins on the plaque was progressive; it showed significance after the first month of treatment, and the echogenicity continued to increase in the following six and 12 months. Conclusions: Statin therapy is associated with a favorable increase of carotid plaque echogenicity. This effect seems to be dependent on the period of treatment and hsCRP change from the baseline, independent of changes in LDL and HDL. View Full-Text
Keywords: carotid atherosclerosis; plaque echogenicity; ultrasound; statins carotid atherosclerosis; plaque echogenicity; ultrasound; statins

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ibrahimi, P.; Jashari, F.; Bajraktari, G.; Wester, P.; Henein, M.Y. Ultrasound Assessment of Carotid Plaque Echogenicity Response to Statin Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 10734-10747.

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