BackgroundThere is a growing evidence that carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and it should be used as a predictor of atherosclerotic burden of coronary arteries. However, these studies have been performed by using invasive coronary angiography (ICA) and in high-risk patients for CAD. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the correlation between CIMT by ultrasound and coronary atherosclerosis in symptomatic intermediate risk patients by coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA).MethodsWe enrolled 204 consecutive symptomatic patients (mean age: 61 ± 10; men: 118) and intermediate risk for CAD. All patients underwent CIMT ultrasound evaluation and CCTA. Coronary artery calcium score (CACS), characteristics of plaques, severity of CAD, segment involvement score (SIS) and Gensini's score were assessed and compared with CIMT values.ResultsCIMT has been proved as an independent predictor of a number of coronary artery plaques, overall number of mixed and remodeled plaques, presence of obstructive CAD, high SIS and Gensini's score (HR 1.2, CI 1.05–1.42, p 0.01; HR 1.2, CI 1.01–1.41, p 0.03; HR 9.0, CI 1.37–59.7, p 0.02; HR 21.0, CI 2.40–184, p < 0.01; HR 1.2, CI 1.08–1.42, p < 0.01; HR 1.2, CI 1.08–1.42, p < 0.01, respectively). A cut-off value > 1.3 was associated with a better positive and negative predictive value (100% and 69%) to predict the combined endpoint of presence and mixed and/or remodeled coronary artery plaques.ConclusionsCIMT is an independent predictor of coronary atherosclerotic burden as detected by CCTA in symptomatic intermediate risk patients.