Risk for MI, Stroke, Death Increased With Plastics in Carotid Plaques
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Risk for MI, Stroke, Death Increased With Plastics in Carotid Plaques

Risk for primary end-point event higher in patients in whom microplastics and nanoplastics were detected within the atheroma

FRIDAY, March 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Patients in whom microplastics and nanoplastics (MNPs) are detected within carotid plaques have an increased risk for a composite end point of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from any cause, according to a study published in the March 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Raffaele Marfella, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Naples, Italy, and colleagues conducted a prospective, multicenter, observational study involving patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy for asymptomatic carotid artery disease. The excised carotid plaque specimens were analyzed for the presence of MNPs. A total of 304 patients were enrolled in the study; 257 completed a mean follow-up of 33.7 ± 6.9 months.

Overall, 150 patients (58.4 percent) had polyethylene detected in carotid artery plaques, with a mean level of 21.7 ± 24.5 µg/mg of plaque; 31 patients (12.1 percent) also had measurable amounts of polyvinyl chloride (mean of 5.2 ± 2.4 µg/mg of plaque). The researchers identified visible, jagged-edged foreign particles among plaque macrophages and scattered in the external debris on electron microscopy. Some of these particles included chlorine on radiographic examination. The risk for a primary end-point event (a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from any cause) was higher in patients in whom MNPs were detected within the atheroma versus those in whom these substances were not detected (hazard ratio, 4.53).

"Patients with MNPs that were detected in carotid artery plaque have a higher risk of a composite end point of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from any cause at 34 months of follow-up," the authors write.

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