Vol. 34, Nş 2

Features of atherosclerosis of common carotid arteries among black Kenyans

Ogeng’O, J.; Ongetti, K.; Mwachaka, P.

KEYWORDS: common carotid, atherosclerosis, black Kenyans.

ABSTRACT: Introduction: Data on the features of atherosclerosis of common carotid artery are important for informing strategies against ischaemic stroke in Subsaharan Africa, but are scarce. Materials and Methods: This study therefore investigated, by light microscopy, the presence of features of atherosclerosis in the left common carotid artery among 108 black Kenyans [76 males; 32 females; Mean age 36.4, range 22-82 years] who suffered violent death. Specimens from the distal segment of the artery were prepared for routine paraffin embedding, and 5µ sections stained with Mason’s Trichome. Results: At least one feature of atherosclerosis was observed in 22 (20.4%) cases. Intimal hyperplasia alone was present in all the 22 cases followed by Intimal hyperplasia and degeneration of internal elastic lamina 19 (17.6%); Intimal hyperplasia combined with disintegration of internal elastic lamina and medial degeneration 17 (15.7%). Thickening of tunica adventitia with neovascularization were present in 8 (7.4%) of cases. All the features were more frequent in males than females (1.4:1) and those over 40 years old. Eight of the cases (36.4%) were in individuals aged below 40 years. Conclusion: Multiple features of atherosclerosis in common carotid artery are present in over 20% of the asymptomatic black Kenyans studied. They occur more frequently in males, and affect individuals younger than 40 years. These features appear in all three layers of the vessel wall, suggesting that the disease has attained several stages of severity in this population. We recommend early screening for the disease in individuals at risk.