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Acad Radiol. 2001 Feb;8(2):162-72.

Contrast-enhanced B-mode US angiography in the assessment of experimental in vivo and in vitro atherosclerotic disease.

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Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego Medical Center, USA.



This study was performed to (a) test the hypothesis that filling the arterial lumen with echoes at B-mode ultrasound (US) enables the assessment of wall and luminal abnormalities and (b) compare contrast material-enhanced B-mode US with color and power Doppler US angiography.


Atherosclerotic lesions were created in 14 rabbit aortas and imaged with color Doppler and B-mode US before and after the intravenous administration of 0.3 mL of AF0150, a US contrast agent. In addition, four replicas of diseased human carotid arteries were immersed in a tissue-mimicking phantom and imaged with B-mode and color and power Doppler US before and after the administration of 1 mL of AF0150 per liter of porcine blood. Radiopaque plastic casts of the rabbit aortas and contact radiographs of the plastic replicas served as standards.


Although color and power Doppler US allowed immediate localization of the lumen, precise estimation of stenoses and reliable visualization of surface irregularities were not possible. After AF0150 administration, angiogram-like images of the lumen were created with B-mode US, allowing rapid assessment of the entire vessel lumen and wall. Consequently, luminal stenoses were more accurately measured than with unenhanced B-mode US (r2 = 0.94, P < .0001 vs r2 = 0.21, P = .25) or Doppler (r2 = 0.42, P < .03). In addition, plaques and ulcerations were visible only with contrast-enhanced B-mode US.


Microbubbles fill the arterial lumen with echoes at B-mode US, creating an angiogram-like image. The ability to visualize the inner and outer surfaces of the vascular wall improved the evaluation of luminal and wall abnormalities.

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