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Carotid artery blockage as proxy for coronary arteries?
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Carotid artery blockage as proxy for coronary arteries?

I have about 20% blockage in my carotid arteries.   I am doing a number of things to improve my vascular health to slow down or stop progression .  

So, two things -

Can I assume that carotid artery blockage is correlated to coronary artery blockage?  

and, if so

Can I assume coronary artery atherosclerosis progression can be inferred by monitoring carotid artery status?    So that if monitoring of carotid status indicates progression has stopped that can I assume coronary atherosclerosis progression has stopped?

1 Comment
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
This is an astute and common question that I often hear when visiting with my patients.  If you have peripheral arterial disease (carotid blockages or other vessels in your body, like the leg arteries), then your risk of having coronary artery disease is much higher compared to someone without peripheral arterial disease.  That does not mean that there is a direct correlation, however, and some patients with minimal carotid artery disease can have severe coronary artery disease (and vise versa).  The medications and lifestyle changes for preventing progression of carotid and coronary disease are the same as the pathophysiology for developing plaque is identical.  You cannot assume, however, that no further progression in carotid plaque means no further progression of coronary disease and serial carotid ultrasound is not a way to monitor coronary disease.
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