Article Abstract

Preclinical atherosclerosis in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases: a case-control study

Authors: Vincenzo Bruzzese, Giuseppe Palermo, Lorenzo Ridola, Roberto Lorenzetti, Cesare Hassan, Annamaria Izzo, Angelo Zullo


Background: An independent role of chronic inflammation in the atherosclerotic process in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) has been suggested, but data are still contentious. We assessed pre-clinical atherosclerosis in the IBD patients without traditional risk factors.
Methods: In this case-control study we assessed the early atherosclerotic alterations by carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) measurement in IBD patients and matched controls. The normal CIMT values were ≤0.9 mm; moderate thickness when >0.9 and ≤1.2 mm, and pre-clinical atherosclerosis when >1.2 mm. We selected a homogeneous group of IBD patients, all in ongoing biologic therapy, without any traditional risk factor for atherosclerosis as well as controls.
Results: The study enrolled 23 consecutive patients (16 with ulcerative colitis and 7 with Crohn’s disease) and 20 controls matched for age and sex. The mean of CIMT values was not statistically different between patients and controls (0.68±0.21 vs. 0.82±0.2 mm; P=0.4). The prevalence of moderate CIMT thickness was significantly lower in cases than in controls (8.7% vs. 42.8%; P=0.01; OR: 0.15, 95% CI: 0.03–0.85).
Conclusions: This case-control study found that the atherosclerotic process is not more apparent in IBD patients without traditional risk factors.
Keywords: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD); atherosclerosis; carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT); biologic therapy