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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2010 Feb;31(2):311-6. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A1793. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Geometric and compositional appearance of atheroma in an angiographically normal carotid artery in patients with atherosclerosis.

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1
Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Arterial remodeling may enable atherosclerotic disease without luminal stenosis. We sought to assess the prevalence and characteristics of atherosclerosis in angiographically normal carotid arteries.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Forty-six arteries with 0% stenosis by MRA were evaluated with multicontrast carotid MR imaging at 3T. For each artery, the percentage wall volume (wall volume/[lumen volume + wall volume] x 100%) and the presence versus absence of an LRNC, calcification, IPH, and fibrous cap rupture were recorded. In addition, the relative size of each plaque component (eg, percentage LRNC = LRNC volume/wall volume x 100%), when present, was calculated.

RESULTS:

The mean of percentage wall volume in arteries with 0% stenosis was 43.0 +/- 6.9% with a range from 31.6% to 60.1%. An LRNC was present in 67.4% (31/46) of arteries, calcification was present in 65.2% (30/46), IPH was present in 8.7% (4/46), and fibrous cap rupture was present in 4.3% (2/46). In arteries with an LRNC (n = 31), the average percentage LRNC volume was 8.8 +/- 7.3% with a range from 1.0% to 31.5%. For calcification (n = 30), the mean percentage calcification volume was 3.8 +/- 4.2% with a range of 0.1%-17.4%. The mean percentage IPH volume (n = 4) was 2.7 +/- 1.7% with a range of 0.5%-4.1%.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings indicate that stenosis by MRA may underestimate the presence of carotid atherosclerosis, and they demonstrate the need for improved methods for accurately identifying carotid atherosclerotic plaque severity.

PMID:
19779001
DOI:
10.3174/ajnr.A1793
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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