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Eur Radiol. 2005 Jul;15(7):1426-31. Epub 2005 Mar 5.

Influence of intracoronary attenuation on coronary plaque measurements using multislice computed tomography: observations in an ex vivo model of coronary computed tomography angiography.

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Department of Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Molenwaterplein, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Assessment of attenuation (measured in Hounsfield units, HU) of human coronary plaques was performed using multislice computed tomography (MSCT) in an ex vivo model. In three ex vivo specimens of left coronary arteries in oil, MSCT was performed after intracoronary injection of four solutions of contrast material (400 mgI/ml iomeprol). The four solutions were diluted as follows: 1/infinity, 1/200, 1/80, and 1/20. All scans were performed with the following parameters: slices/collimation 16/0.75 mm, rotation time 375 ms. Each specimen was scored for the presence of atherosclerotic plaques. In each plaque the attenuation was measured in four regions of interest for lumen, plaque (non-calcified thickening of the vessel wall), calcium, and surrounding (oil surrounding the vessel). The results were compared with a one-way analysis of variance test and were correlated with Pearson's test. There were no significant differences in the attenuation of calcium and oil in the four solutions. The mean attenuation in the four solutions for lumen (35+/-10, 91+/-7, 246+/-18, 511+/-89 HU) and plaque (22+/-22, 50+/-26, 107+/-36, 152+/-67 HU) was significantly different between each decreasing dilution (p<0.001). The mean attenuation of lumen and plaque of coronary plaques showed high correlation, while the values were significantly different (r=0.73; p<0.001). Intracoronary attenuation modifies significantly the attenuation of plaques assessed with MSCT.

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