Evaluation of carotid wall thickness and vertebro-basilar system insufficiency in patients with obese polycystic ovary syndrome
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Aim: To investigate the risk of cardiovascular disease by measuring carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and to evaluate the diameters and blood flow volume of vertebral arteries using Doppler ultrasound and the possible contribution of hyperandrogenemia that exists in these patients. Material and Methods: We prospectively studied 64 Caucasian women aged 18-35 years (31 with polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS] and 33 healthy controls). Patients were classified according to body mass index into obese (BMI > 27 kg/m(2)). All subjects were examined with ultrasound to measure CIMT and blood flow volume and diameters of vertebral arteries. Results: A significant difference between the two groups in CIMT (0.51 +/- 0.08 vs 0.39 +/- 0.02 mm, P < 0.001) and diameters of vertebral arteries (right, 3.03 +/- 0.37 vs 3.44 +/- 0.68 mm and left, 2.94 +/- 0.34 vs 3.33 +/- 0.63 mm, P < 0.05) were found, respectively. Right-left and total flow volumes of the vertebral arteries (VA) were significantly lower in the PCOS group than in the control group (P <= 0.001). Compared to the control group, diameters of right and left VA decreased (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that hyperandrogenemia in obese PCOS patients affects carotid and vertebro-basilar system arteries wall thickness. Pre-atherosclerotic vascular impairment with androgen excess should determine early examination of vertebro-basilar system with ultrasound. All patients with PCOS must be routinely examined using color Doppler ultrasound to measure CIMT carotid and vertebro-basilar arteries, and diameters and blood flow volume of vertebral arteries.