Carotid Intima Media Thickness (IMT) is an important surrogate parameter of early atherosclerosis. With high resolution ultrasound it can be measured quickly, noninvasively, and accurately. Multiple large epidemiological studies have shown that baseline IMT is independently associated with clinical outcome parameters. For the individual progression of IMT, the association with clinical outcome is less well documented. However, individual IMT progression is increasingly used as a surrogate of clinical outcome in clinical intervention trials and pathophysiological studies. To date, none of the large population-based IMT studies have shown results that support the reasonable, but unproven hypothesis that individual IMT progression predicts vascular events. To approach the questions arising, we need larger samples than we can reach with the existing studies to date.
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