Intravascular Ultrasound Elastography: A Clinician's Tool for Assessing Vulnerability and Material Composition of Plaques.
SourceStudies in Health Technology and Informatics, 113, (2005), pp. 75-96
Article / Letter to editor
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Paediatrics - OUD tm 2017
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics
SubjectIGMD 1: Functional imaging; IGMD 5: Health aging / healthy living; NCEBP 14: Cardiovascular diseases; UMCN 2.1: Heart, lung and circulation
The material composition and morphology of the atherosclerotic plaque components are considered to be more important determinants of acute coronary ischemic syndromes than the degree of stenosis. When a vulnerable plaque ruptures it causes an acute thrombotic reaction. Rupture prone plaques contain a large lipid pool covered by a thin fibrous cap. The stress in these caps increases with decreasing thickness. Additionally, the cap may be weakened by macrophage infiltration. IntraVascular UltraSound (IVUS) elastography might be an ideal technique to assess the presence of lipid pools and to identify high stress regions. Elastography is a technique that assesses the local elasticity (strain and modulus) of tissue. It is based on the principle that the deformation of tissue by a mechanical excitation is a function of its material properties. The deformation of the tissue is determined using ultrasound. For intravascular purposes, the intraluminal pressure is used as the excitation force. The radial strain in the tissue is obtained by cross-correlation techniques on the radio frequency signals. The strain is color-coded and plotted as a complimentary image to the IVUS echogram. IVUS elastography, and IVUS palpography (which uses the same principle but is faster and more robust), have been extensively validated using simulations and by performing experiments in vitro and in vivo with diseased arteries from animals and humans. Strain was shown to be significantly different in various plaque types (absent, fatty, fibrous or calcified). A high strain region with adjacent low strain at the lumen vessel-wall boundary has 88% sensitivity and 89% specificity for detecting vulnerable plaques. High strain regions at the lumen plaque-surface have 92% sensitivity and 92% specificity for identifying macrophages. Furthermore, the incidence of vulnerable-plaque-specific strain patterns in humans has been related to clinical presentation (stable angina, unstable angina or acute myocardial infarction) and the level of C-reactive protein. In conclusion, the results obtained with IVUS (strain and modulus) elastography/palpography, show the potential of the technique to become a unique tool for clinicians to assess the vulnerability and material composition of plaques.
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