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Stroke. 2004 May;35(5):1079-84. Epub 2004 Apr 1.

Hemorrhage in the atherosclerotic carotid plaque: a high-resolution MRI study.

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1
Department of Radiology, University of Washington, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

High-resolution, multicontrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has developed into an effective tool for the identification of carotid atherosclerotic plaque components, such as necrotic core, fibrous matrix, and hemorrhage/thrombus. Factors that may lead to plaque instability are lipid content, thin fibrous cap, and intraplaque hemorrhage. Determining the age of intraplaque hemorrhage can give insight to the history and current condition of the biologically active plaque. The aim of this study was to develop criteria for the identification of the stages of intraplaque hemorrhage using high-resolution MRI.

METHODS:

Twenty-seven patients, scheduled for carotid endarterectomy (CEA), were imaged on a 1.5-T GE SIGNA scanner (sequences: 3-dimensional time of flight, double-inversion recovery, T1-weighted (T1W), PDW and T2W). Two readers, blinded to histology, reviewed MR images and grouped hemorrhage into fresh, recent, and old categories using a modified cerebral hemorrhage criteria. The CEA specimens were serially sectioned and graded as to presence and stage of hemorrhage.

RESULTS:

Hemorrhage was histologically identified and staged in 145/189 (77%) of carotid artery plaque locations. MRI detected intraplaque hemorrhage with high sensitivity (90%) but moderate specificity (74%). Moderate agreement in classifying stages occurred between MRI and histology (Cohen kappa=0.7, 95% CI: 0.5 to 0.8 for reviewer 1 and 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2 to 0.6 for reviewer 2), with moderate agreement between the 2 MRI readers (kappa=0.4, 95% CI: 0.3 to 0.6).

CONCLUSIONS:

Multicontrast MRI can detect and classify carotid intraplaque hemorrhage with high sensitivity and moderate specificity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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