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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 Feb;38(2):231-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2011.10.025. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

Changes in carotid plaque echogenicity with time since the stroke onset: an early marker of plaque remodeling?

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1
Department of Neurology and Stroke Center, La Paz University Hospital, Autonoma de Madrid University, IdiPAZ Research Institute, Madrid, Spain. patrindalo@hotmail.com

Abstract

Carotid plaques undergo histologic changes early after an ischemic stroke. However, the evolution of carotid plaques echolucency after a recent brain ischemia is not well known. A prospective observational study that included consecutive stroke patients and asymptomatic individuals with plaques showing ≥50% stenosis on duplex ultrasound was conducted. Plaque echogenicity was measured with the standardized gray-scale median (GSM) and compared with respect to symptoms presence and time from stroke onset. One hundred twenty-six carotid plaques in 124 patients were studied and four groups of plaques were analyzed: (1) plaques seen within 24 h of stroke onset (32); (2) between 1-7 days (50); (3) more than 7 days after stroke onset (22) and; (4) plaques without associated symptoms (22). Plaques of group 1 had less echogenicity than those of groups 2-4: median GSM (interquartile range) 14 (16), 19.5 (19), 22.5 (21), 26.5 (16) respectively (p = 0.001). In conclusion, carotid plaque echogenicity is increased with time from stroke onset and could be an early marker of plaque remodeling.

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