Decreased carotid artery distensibility as a sign of early atherosclerosis in viscose rayon workers

K. Kotseva, L. Braeckman, D. Duprez, D. De Bacquer, M. De Buyzere, N. Van De Veire, M. Vanhoorne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Carbon disulphide (CS2) is known to accelerate atherosclerosis and to increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases. To assess the effect of CS2 on the functional (distensibility and compliance) and the structural (intima media thickness) properties of the common carotid artery, and blood pressure and lipid metabolism parameters, a cross-sectional study on 85 workers from a viscose rayon factory and 37 controls was carried out. Exposure to CS2 was assessed by personal monitoring and was well below the threshold limit value-time weighted average. Carotid arterial wall properties were determined using a non-invasive ultrasound wall movement detector system. No significant effect of CS2 on blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or triglycerides was found. Among the vascular parameters studied, only distensibility was significantly lower and heart rate was significantly higher in exposed subjects compared with the controls. In conclusion, occupational exposure to CS2 may cause early alterations in arterial elastic properties in young individuals, and even before lipid and clinical findings have occurred, important functional changes in the vessel wall are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the management, workers and medical services of the factories participating in this study for their cooperation. Financial support was given by the Belgian Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (grant ST/02/034). Dr Kornelia Kotseva received a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Ghent, Belgium (BOF 97).


  • Arterial compliance
  • Arterial distensibility
  • Blood pressure
  • Carbon disulphide
  • Common carotid artery
  • Heart rate
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Occupational exposure


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