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INTRODUCTION: In patients with carotid stenosis receiving medical treatment, carotid plaque echolucency has been thought to predict risk of future stroke and of other cardiovascular events. This study evaluated the prognostic value of pre-operative plaque echolucency for future stroke and cardiovascular death in patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy in the first Asymptomatic Carotid Surgery Trial (ACST-1). METHODS: In ACST-1, 1832/3120 patients underwent carotid endarterectomy (CEA), of whom 894 had visual echolucency assessment according to the Gray-Weale classification. During follow-up patients were monitored both for peri-procedural (i.e. within 30 days) death, stroke, or MI, and for long-term risk of stroke or cardiovascular death. Unconditional maximum likelihood estimation was used to calculate odds ratios of peri-procedural risk and Kaplan-Meier statistics with log-rank test were used to compare cumulative long-term risks. RESULTS: Of 894 operated patients in whom echolucency was assessed, 458 plaques (51%) were rated as echolucent and peri-procedural risk of death/stroke/MI in these patients was non-significantly higher when compared with patients with non-echolucent plaques (OR 1.48 [95% CI 0.76-2.88], p = .241). No differences were found in the 10 year risk of any stroke (30/447 [11.6%] vs. 29/433 [11.0%], p = .900) or cardiovascular (non-stroke) death (85/447 [27.9%] vs. 93/433 [32.1%], p = .301). CONCLUSION: In ACST-1, carotid plaque echolucency assessment in patients undergoing CEA offered no predictive value with regard to peri-operative or long-term stroke risk or of cardiovascular (non-stroke) death.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg

Publication Date





135 - 141


Carotid artery stenosis, Carotid endarterectomy, Plaque echolucency, Randomised controlled trial, Stroke, Aged, Asymptomatic Diseases, Carotid Arteries, Carotid Stenosis, Chi-Square Distribution, Endarterectomy, Carotid, Female, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Odds Ratio, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Predictive Value of Tests, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Stroke, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, Ultrasonography