Author + information
- Received April 20, 1995
- Revision received July 27, 1995
- Accepted October 17, 1995
- Published online March 1, 1996.
- Mehran Khatibzadeh, MBBS,
- Rolf Mitusch, MD,
- Ulrich Stierle, MD,
- Bernd Gromoll, MD and
- Abdolhamid Sheikhzadeh, MD, FACC, FESC∗
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Dr. Abdolhamid Sheikhzadeh, Department of Cardiology, Medical University of Lübeck, D-23538 Lübeck, Germany.
Objectives. Our study was designed to determine the significance of aortogenic embolism in an unselected autopsy collective.
Background. Although embolism arising from atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta has been acknowledged, the role of aortic atheromatosis among other well known sources of embolism remains to be further clarified.
Methods. We examined the proximal part of the arterial system with regard to the presence of atherosclerotic lesions as well as cardiac changes in 120 consecutive necropsy studies. Pathologic evidence of embolic events was recorded. Clinical and neuropathologic data were also surveyed in all patients.
Results. Among atherosclerotic lesions, fibrous plaques (p < 0.05) and calcified (p < 0.0001) and ulcerated lesions (p < 0.0001) as well as thrombi (p < 0.005) were observed significantly more frequently in the aortic arch and in the descending aorta than in the ascending aorta, whereas fatty streaks were distributed uniformly. In 40 (33%) of the 120 patients, we found pathologic evidence of arterial embolization. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed a significant correlation between embolism and complicated atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic arch (odds ratio [OR] 5.8, 95% confidence interval [Cl] 1.1 to 31.7, p < 0.05), severe ipsilateral carotid artery disease (OR 3.1, 95% CI 3.1 to 45.3, p < 0.001) and atrial fibrillation (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 9.9, p < 0.05).
Conclusions. Complicated atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic arch represent an independent risk factor for systemic embolism similar to atrial fibrillation and severe atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries.
- Received April 20, 1995.
- Revision received July 27, 1995.
- Accepted October 17, 1995.