These studies have evaluated the rapid progression of carotid stenosis on a large scale. We created a custom software algorithm to analyze an electronic medical record database to examine the natural progression of carotid stenosis, identify a subset of patients with rapid progression, and evaluate the specific patient risk factors associated with this rapid progression.

Patients in a large integrated healthcare system who had undergone two or more carotid ultrasound scans from August 2010 to August 2018 were identified. We did not distinguish between those with an established carotid stenosis diagnosis and those with a screening ultrasound scan. We used our novel algorithm to extract data from their carotid ultrasound reports. The degrees of carotid stenosis were categorized as follows: level 1, 0% to 39%; level 2, 40% to 59%; level 3, 60% to 79%; level 4, 80% to 99%; and level 5, complete occlusion. The primary endpoint was rapid vs slow progression of carotid stenosis, with rapid progression defined as an increase of two or more levels within any 18-month period of the study, regardless of the date of the initial ultrasound scan. The association of the demographic and clinical characteristics with rapid progression was assessed by univariable and multivariable logistic regression.

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