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Clinical Investigations: CARDIOLOGY |

Plasma Homocysteine and Severity of Thoracic Aortic Atherosclerosis*

Christophe M. Tribouilloy, MD, PhD; Marcel Peltier, MD; Michele C. Iannetta Peltier, MD; Faouzi Trojette, MD; Michel Andrejak, MD; Jean-Philippe M. Lesbre, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Cardiology, South Hospital, University of Picardie, Amiens, France.

Correspondence to: Christophe Tribouilloy, MD, PhD, Service de Cardiologie, Hôpital Sud, 80000 Amiens, Cédex, France



Chest. 2000;118(6):1685-1689. doi:10.1378/chest.118.6.1685
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Study objectives: Plasma homocysteine level is a risk factor for coronary events, stroke, and peripheral atherosclerotic disease. However, few data are available concerning the relationship between homocysteine level and severity of thoracic aortic atherosclerosis. We hypothesized in this multiplane transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) study that homocysteine level is a marker of the presence and severity of thoracic aortic atherosclerosis.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: University hospital.

Patients: Risk factors, angiographic features, and TEE findings were analyzed prospectively in 82 valvular patients.

Measurements and results: The following risk factors were recorded: age, gender, hypertension, smoking, lipid parameters, diabetes, body mass index, and family history of coronary artery disease. Plasma levels of homocysteine, vitamin B12, and folic acid were measured for each patient. By univariate analysis, age, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, family history of coronary artery disease, and levels of homocysteine, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significant predictors of the presence of thoracic aortic plaques. There was a positive correlation between the plasma homocysteine levels and the score of severity of thoracic atherosclerosis (r = 0.48; p = 0.0001) as well as between the homocysteine levels and the grades of severity of aortic intimal changes (p = 0.0008). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that homocysteine was an independent predictor of the presence and severity of thoracic aortic atherosclerosis.

Conclusion: This prospective study indicates that plasma homocysteine level is a marker of severity of thoracic atherosclerosis detected by multiplane TEE. These findings emphasize the role of homocysteine as a marker of atherosclerotic lesions in the major arterial locations.


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