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Intima-media thickness in an Italian psoriatic population: correlation with lipidic serum levels, PASI and BMI


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Background  Recent findings have shown that psoriasis is frequently associated with atherosclerosis. Intima-media thickness (IMT) is a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis damage. Psoriasis patients had impaired endothelial function and thicker IMT of the carotid artery, compared with the healthy control subjects.

Objectives  The aim of our study is to evaluate the prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis in patients affected by cutaneous psoriasis without arthritis, considering the IMT as a subclinical feature of atherosclerosis.

Methods  Intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery was measured using High-resolution B-mode ultrasound in 40 psoriasis patients and 40 control patients matched for age and gender. We also measured triglycerides, PASI, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and BMI. Pearson’s partial correlation test was used to determine the correlation between each variable.

Results  Intima-media thickness in subjects with psoriasis was statistically higher than those in the control subjects (1.465 mm, P value < 0.001). A positive strong correlation between IMT and age (r = 0.464 < 0.01), total cholesterol (r = 0.466 < 0.01), LDL cholesterol (r = 0.518 < 0.01), triglycerides (r = 0.285 = 0.01) and PASI (r = 0.515 < 0.01) was observed. There was no statistically significant correlation between IMT and BMI (r = 0.132 = 0.244).

Conclusions  Our study showed a significant increase in IMT in cutaneous psoriatic patients with moderate to severe psoriasis compared with a control group. IMT seems to be uncorrelated with BMI value. It can be assumed that the assessment of IMT, through a reliable and non-invasive technique such as ultrasound, appears particularly useful in the clinical evaluation of patients with psoriasis who may benefit from early intervention.