Asymptomatic Carotoid Arterial Dis

Asymptomatic carotid arterial disease in young patients following neck radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma.

King LJ, Hasnain SN, Webb JA, Kingston JE, Shafford EA, Lister TA, Shamash J, Reznek RH.

Department of Radiology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, England.

PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence and severity of asymptomatic carotid arterial disease in young patients following neck radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma and to compare the prevalence of carotid arterial disease following radiation therapy alone with that following radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-two survivors of childhood or early adult Hodgkin lymphoma aged 18-37 years who had undergone radiation therapy more than 5 years earlier underwent carotid arterial ultrasonography. Common carotid intima-media thickness was measured; carotid vessels were assessed for intima-media abnormalities. Results were compared with those from 33 control subjects.

RESULTS: Patients had a significantly greater number of abnormal scans than did control subjects (11 [26%] vs one [3%]; P < .01). Ten patients (24%) had intima-media abnormalities that did not cause significant stenosis; one patient had diffuse bilateral intima-media thickening (mean, 1.99 mm) with greater than 70% stenosis of both common carotid arteries. Intima-media thickness was significantly greater in patients (0.51 mm) than in control subjects (0.43 mm; P < .005).

The number of abnormalities in patients with radiation therapy plus chemotherapy (six [19%] of 31 patients) did not differ significantly from the number in patients with only radiation therapy (five [45%] of 11 patients; P = .12); there was no significant difference between median intima-media thicknesses (0.50 mm vs 0.51 mm, P > .2).

CONCLUSION: Asymptomatic carotid arterial disease occurs frequently in young patients following neck radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma. No difference in prevalence was shown between only radiation therapy and radiation therapy plus chemotherapy.

Radiology 1999 Oct;213(1):167-72


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