Differences in left and right carotid plaque vulnerability in patients with bilateral carotid plaques: a CARE-II study

Sai Shao, Honglu Shi, Guangbin Wang, Rui Li, Qinjian Sun, Bin Yao, Hiroko Watase, Daniel S. Hippe, Chun Yuan, Xihai Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose Atherosclerosis is a very complex process influenced by various systemic and local factors. Therefore, in patients with bilateral carotid plaques (BCPs), there may be differences in carotid plaque vulnerability between the sides. We aimed to investigate the differences in BCP characteristics in patients with BCPs using magnetic resonance vessel wall imaging (MR-VWI). Methods Participants with BCPs were selected for subanalysis from a multicentre study of Chinese Atherosclerosis Risk Evaluation II. We measured carotid plaque burden, identified each plaque component and measured their volume or area bilaterally on MR-VWI. Paired comparisons of the burden and components of BCPs were performed. Results In all, 540 patients with BCPs were eligible for analysis. Compared with the right carotid artery (CA), larger mean lumen area (p<0.001), larger mean wall area (p=0.025), larger mean total vessel area (p<0.001) and smaller normalised wall index (p=0.006) were found in the left CA. Regarding plaque components, only the prevalence of lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC) in the left CA was higher (p=0.026). For patients with a vulnerable plaque component coexisting on both sides, only the intraplaque haemorrhage (IPH) volume (p=0.011) was significantly greater in the left CA than in the right CA. Conclusions There were asymmetries in plaque growth and evolution between BCPs. The left carotid plaques were more likely to have larger plaque burden, higher prevalence of LRNC and greater IPH volume, which may contribute to the lateralisation of ischaemic stroke in the cerebral hemispheres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-291
Number of pages8
JournalStroke and Vascular Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 03-01-2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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