Contribution of increasing age to carotid plaque morphology and symptoms

Kentaro Hikichi, Tatsuya Ishikawa, Hajime Miyata, Junta Moroi, Hideya Kawai, Syunsuke Takenaka, Shotaro Yoshioka, Kenji Uda, Takeshi Okada, Shinya Kobayashi, Hiroshi Saito, Jun Tanabe, Nobuharu Furuya, Nobuyuki Yasui, Akifumi Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Aging is considered to cause atherosclerotic changes in the carotid artery, but few studies have evaluated this relationship. In this study, we used carotid plaques removed from patients with carotid artery stenosis and investigated how aging contributes to carotid plaque morphology and symptoms.

Materials and Methods: A total of 60 patients (55 men, 5 women ; mean age, 70.5 years ; range, 53-85 years) treated at our hospital between January 2009 and April 2012 were enrolled in this study. All patients underwent carotid endarterectomy; their carotid plaques were stained with hematoxylin-eosin and/or Elastica-Masson stain and examined by a pathologist. Using these data, the carotid systolic velocity and plaque morphology were analyzed considering the age by decade as well as the symptomatology.

Conclusion: Increasing age contributes to morphological changes in carotid plaques and ; symptoms. When hemorrhagic lesions are suspected in carotid plaques, patients will be symptomatic and may require surgery.

Results: Of the 60 patients, 29 were symptomatic (transient ischemic attack (TIA) in 8 patients ; infarction in 20; and amaurosis in 1). Symptoms were less common as patient age increased. The incidence of TIA also tended to decrease with an increase in age, although the opposite trend was seen with infarction. In plaque morphology, the presence of active plaque, macrophage, inflammatory infiltration, and capillary angiogenesis decreased as age increased, while the presence of degenerative plaques, decrease in smooth muscle cell number, and calcification inversely increased. Active, degenerative, and combined (active/degenerative) lesions are statistically unrelated to symptoms as well as systolic velocity (cm/sec) at the carotid ; stenosis. The rates of hemorrhagic lesions were similar among decades, but the lesion statistically contributed to increasing symptoms (p=0.0045) and increasing systolic velocity (p=0.03l).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-835
Number of pages7
JournalNeurological Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01-09-2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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