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Characterization of Atherosclerotic Plaques and Mural Thrombi With Intravascular Ultrasound Elastography: A Potential Method Evaluated in an Aortic Rabbit Model and a Human Coronary Artery

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7 Author(s)
Maurice, R.L. ; Lab. of Biorheology & Med. Ultrasonics, Res. Center, Univ. of Montreal Hosp., Montreal, QC ; Fromageau, J. ; Cardinal, M.-H. ; Doyley, Marvin
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Plaque rupture is correlated with the plaque morphology, composition, mechanical properties, and with the blood pressure. Whereas the geometry can accurately be assessed with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging, intravascular elastography (IVE) is capable of extracting information on the plaque local mechanical properties and composition. This paper reports additional IVE validation data regarding reproducibility and potential to characterize atherosclerotic plaques and mural thrombi. In a first investigation, radio frequency (RF) data were acquired from the abdominal aorta of an atherosclerotic rabbit model. In a second investigation, IVUS RF data were recorded from the left coronary artery of a patient referred for angioplasty. In both cases, Galaxy IVUS scanners (Boston Scientific, Freemont, CA), equipped with 40 MHz Atlantis catheters, were used. Elastograms were computed using two methods, the Lagrangian speckle model estimator (LSME) and the scaling factor estimator (SFE). Corroborated with histology, the LSME and the SFE both clearly detected a soft thrombus attached to the vascular wall. Moreover, shear elastograms, only available with the LSME, confirmed the presence of the thrombus. Additionally, IVE was found reproducible with consistent elastograms between cardiac cycles (CCs). Regarding the human dataset, only the LSME was capable of identifying a plaque that presumably sheltered a lipid core. Whereas such an assumption could not be certified with histology, radial shear and tangential strain LSME elastograms enabled the same conclusion. It is worth emphasizing that this paper reports the first ever in vivo tangential strain elastogram with regards to vascular imaging, due to the LSME. It is concluded that the IVE was reproducible exhibiting consistent strain patterns between CCs. The IVE might provide a unique tool to assess coronary wall lesions.

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Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 3 )