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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2004 Oct;30(10):1385-96.

Staging deep venous thrombosis using ultrasound elasticity imaging: animal model.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Deep venous thrombi undergo progressive hardening with age. However, the evolution rate remains poorly characterized by both invasive and noninvasive techniques. In a previous study (Emelianov et al. 2002), we demonstrated the potential of ultrasound elasticity imaging to noninvasively detect and age thrombus using a rat-based model. Knowing that thrombi harden over time is useful, but the value of the technique relies on whether the age of a thrombus can be predicted from strain estimates, and how accurate these predictions are. The objective of the present study is to answer these two questions. In the previous study, thrombus elasticity changes were monitored only on day 3, 6 and 9 after surgically induced formation of thrombosis in rat inferior vena cavas. In this study, ultrasound elasticity imaging was performed on two independent groups of rats (16 in total) starting from day 3 through day 10 with more temporal samples through the thrombus maturation process. For each rat, thrombus hardness was quantified at each scan interval by measures of normalized strains and reconstructed relative Young's moduli. In both groups, strain magnitudes exhibit progressive decrease as clots age. The relationship between the normalized strain and the clot age was developed from the first group and evaluated by the second group. Statistical analysis showed that the age estimation accuracy is within 0.8 day. If further research can successfully transfer the animal clot-hardening model to human patients, we believe that elasticity imaging will become a key component of venous compression ultrasound for effective diagnosis and treatment of deep venous thrombosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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