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AIMS: Heart failure (HF) is a major health problem and early diagnosis is important. Atherosclerosis is the main cause of HF and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a recognized early measure of atherosclerosis. This study aimed to investigate whether increased carotid IMT is associated with changes in cardiac structure and function in middle-aged participants of the UK Biobank Study without overt cardiovascular disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants of the UK Biobank who underwent CMR and carotid ultrasound examinations were included in this study. Patients with heart failure, angina, atrial fibrillation, and history of myocardial infarction or stroke were excluded. We used multivariable linear regression models adjusted for age, sex, physical activity, body mass index, body surface area, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, alcohol intake, and laboratory parameters. In total, 4301 individuals (61.6 ± 7.5 years, 45.9% male) were included. Multivariable linear regression analyses showed that increasing quartiles of IMT was associated with increased left and right ventricular (LV and RV) and left atrial volumes and greater LV mass. Moreover, increased IMT was related to lower LV end-systolic circumferential strain, torsion, and both left and right atrial ejection fractions (all P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Increased IMT showed an independent association over traditional risk factors with enlargement of all four cardiac chambers, decreased function in both atria, greater LV mass, and subclinical LV dysfunction. There may be additional risk stratification that can be derived from the IMT to identify those most likely to have early cardiac structural/functional changes.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Heart J Imaging Methods Pract

Publication Date





MRI, cardiac structure and function, carotid, heart failure