Background and Purpose - Although risk factors for carotid artery stenosis caused by atherosclerosis are known, it is unclear what triggers "activation" of the atherosclerotic plaques and the ensuing thromboembolic cerebral events. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether thrombophilic factors, platelet glycoprotein (GP) polymorphisms, and homocysteine are associated with a risk of ischemic events in patients with significant carotid stenosis. Methods - Consecutive patients with ≥50% carotid stenosis, whether symptomatic (with ipsilateral ischemic events) or asymptomatic, who were evaluated and followed in a neurovascular clinic were tested for plasma levels of homocysteine, C677T mutation in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, G20210A mutation of factor II, factor V Leiden, antiphospholipid antibodies, and polymorphisms of platelet membrane GP: human platelet antigen (HPA)-1, GP Ia (C807T), and GP Ib (variable number of tandem repeats, Kozak, and HPA-2). Results - Eighty-six asymptomatic and 67 symptomatic patients were evaluated. The former group was older (73.7±6.9 versus 69.5±9.1 years, P=0.02). Major risk factors for stroke were similar in both groups. In symptomatic patients versus asymptomatic patients, hyperhomocysteinemia was 3-fold more frequent (34.3% versus 12.8%, respectively; P=0.002) and HPA-1a/b was almost 2-fold more common (38.8% versus 20.9%, respectively; P=0.01). All other thrombophilic factors and platelet polymorphisms studied did not differ significantly between the 2 groups. Multivariate analysis revealed that hyperhomocysteinemia and the HPA-1a/b genotype conferred a significant risk of cerebral ischemic events, with odds ratios (95% CI) of 4.07 (1.7 to 9.7) and 3.4 (1.5 to 7.8), respectively. Conclusions-Hyperhomocysteinemia and HPA-1a/b are independent risk factors for ischemic events in patients with significant carotid stenosis.
- Carotid stenosis