Carotid atherosclerosis is a common cardiovascular disease which is strictly associated with the occurrence of stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in developed countries, after heart disease and all types of cancer, and a major cause of disability particularly in the elderly population. The incidence of all types of strokes in Greece is about 260 per 100,000 population per year, placing our country in fourth place among the European countries. Considering that morbidity and mortality after acute stroke is significantly high, early detection, valid risk-stratification and effective treatment of patients with carotid atherosclerosis constitute a crucial public health challenge.

The degree of stenosis, along with the presence of symptoms (transient ischemic attack, stroke, amaurosis fugax, etc), have traditionally been approved as a key point criteria for the therapeutic decision making (revascularization surgery or medication with statins) of atherosclerosis. However, several studies have proved that most cardiovascular disorders are associated with less severe stenosis, while high stenosis often remain asymptomatic. Given the substantial socio-economic cost of the disease and the risk to patient safety related to the limitations of the current clinical practice, there is an undoubted need for new diagnostic tools which will enhance validity in recognizing vulnerable plaques.


CAROTID is a multi-disciplinary approach to carotid atherosclerosis, leading to a thorough investigation of the causes of the disease, description of its clinical manifestation (phenotype) and optimal management of patients.

Expected outcomes

At a scientific level:

  • production of new knowledge about etiology and clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis in the carotid artery
  • identifying novel markers for risk-assessment
  • improving medical services towards personalized health care


At a technical level:

  • establishment of a protocol for the collection of medical data, including biological specimens and imaging data
  • optimization of the algorithms to be used for computer-assisted data analysis
  • investigation of associations between etiology and phenotype
  • integration of new knowledge in an information system that can be used in clinical practice, assisting both diagnostic procedures and therapeutic decision making


Key information

  • Project abbreviation: CAROTID
  • Project full title: The carotid atheromatous plaque: a multidisciplinary approach for optimal management of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients
  • Funding: Operational Program "Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship" and Regional Operational Programmes of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013. "SYNERGASIA": "Collaborative projects of small and medium scale”
  • Duration: 36 months – 2011-2014
  • Project reference: 09SYN-12-1054