Research Article| Volume 231, P143-149, March 15, 2017

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Carotid plaque detection improves the predictive value of CHA2DS2-VASc score in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation: The ARAPACIS Study

Published:January 04, 2017DOI:


      Background and aims

      Vascular disease (VD), as assessed by history of myocardial infarction or peripheral artery disease or aortic plaque, increases stroke risk in atrial fibrillation (AF), and is a component of risk assessment using the CHA2DS2-VASc score. We investigated if systemic atherosclerosis as detected by ultrasound carotid plaque (CP) could improve the predictive value of the CHA2DS2-VASc score.


      We analysed data from the ARAPACIS study, an observational study including 2027 Italian patients with non-valvular AF, in whom CP was detected using Doppler Ultrasonography.


      VD was reported in 351 (17.3%) patients while CP was detected in 16.6% patients. Adding CP to the VD definition leaded to higher VD prevalence (30.9%).
      During a median [IQR] follow-up time of 36 months, 56 (2.8%) stroke/TIA events were recorded. Survival analysis showed that conventional VD alone did not increase the risk of stroke (Log-Rank: 0.009, p = 0.924), while addition of CP to conventional VD was significantly associated to an increased risk of stroke (LR: 5.730, p = 0.017). Cox regression analysis showed that VD + CP was independently associated with stroke (HR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.05–3.01, p = 0.0318). Reclassification analysis showed that VD + CP allowed a significant risk reclassification when compared to VD alone in predicting stroke at 36 months (NRI: 0.192, 95% CI: 0.028–0.323, p = 0.032).


      In non-valvular AF patients the addition of ultrasound detection of carotid plaque to conventional VD significantly increases the predictive value of CHA2DS2-VASc score for stroke.


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