The aim of this study is to determine the reliability of panoramic radiograph (PR) as a screening tool for the detection of calcified carotid atheroma (CCA) by comparing it with Doppler ultrasonography (DU) examination. A second aim was to evaluate the relationship among CCA, systemic diseases, smoking, and body mass index in an older population.
A total of 1,650 PRs of patients aged over 45 years (736 males and 914 females) were randomly selected. All the patients had been referred to the Faculty of Dentistry, Afyon Kocatepe University, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey, during 2013-2014 for routine PR screening. Medical data were collected from the archival records of the dental school. The patients were divided into two groups: Group A (study group), CCA findings were confirmed by DU (n=59); and Group B (control group), CCA findings were not confirmed by DU (n=34).
Of the 1,650 individuals, 93 (5.63%) were detected to have CCA on PR. The population consisted of 43 males and 50 females with mean age of 59.84±10.92 years. No difference was determined in respect of CCA between the sexes (P=0.745). There was a significant difference between Group A and Group B in respect of hypertension (P=0.004). But there was no difference between Group A and Group B in respect of age (P=0.495), BMI (P=0.756), diabetes (P=0.168), and smoking (P=0.482) distribution.
Although PR cannot be used as an initial diagnostic method when searching for CCA, dentists should be aware of CCA on a routine PR, particularly in older patients who may also have the risk factors of obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and smoking. Recognizing of CCA especially in hypertensive patients could potentially increase the length and quality of life for individuals.