Assessment of carotid calcifications on digital panoramic radiographs: Retrospective analysis and review of the literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • I A Monteiro
  • C Ibrahim
  • N Donaldson
  • F Salazar
  • L Monteiro

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Medicine and oral surgery department and institute of research and advanced training in health sciences and technologies (IINFACTS), university institute of health sciences (IUCS-N), CESPU, 4585-116 Paredes, Portugal.
  • Guys hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, oral surgery department, Great Maze Pond, SE1 9RT London, UK. Electronic address:
  • Birmingham dental hospital/school of dentistry, university of Birmingham, B4 6NN Birmingham, UK.


OBJECTIVES: To assess the validity of digital panoramic radiographs as an effective means of diagnosis for atherosclerosis and as a potential aid in the early detection of the disease.

STUDY DESIGN: We reviewed 2014 digital panoramic radiographs taken throughout 2012 and 2013 to identify the presence of calcified atherosclerotic plaques of both female and male patients all aged over 18 years. In addition the medical records of these patients were reviewed in order to establish if there were any predisposing risk factors for atherosclerosis. Statistical analysis was performed to identify any possible link between radiographic atherosclerotic plaques and predisposing risk factors for atherosclerosis using univariate and multivariate models. Statistical significance criteria was defined as P<0.05.

RESULTS: Out of 2014 patients (1149 female and 865 male), 191 (9.5%) were determined to have calcified atherosclerotic plaques on panoramic radiography. There was a statistically significant relationship between the presence of calcified atherosclerotic plaques and the established risk factors of atherosclerosis such as gender (OR=2.39, P<0.001), age (OR=1.5, P<0.001), stroke (OR=5.38, P<0.001) and hypertension (OR=2.11, P<0.001).

CONCLUSION: To our knowledge this is the largest study investigating atherosclerotic plaques on digital panoramic radiographs ever carried out in Portugal. Dental practitioners need to be aware of these incidental findings and to consider referring these patients for further investigations to confirm diagnosis.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of stomatology, oral and maxillofacial surgery
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2017


  • Digital panoramic radiographs (DPR), Radiography, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease