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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2017 Dec;43(12):2947-2953. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2017.08.1882. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Relationship between Plaque Echo, Thickness and Neovascularization Assessed by Quantitative and Semi-quantitative Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasonography in Different Stenosis Groups.

Author information

1
Department of Ultrasound, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.
2
Department of Vascular Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.
3
Clinical Research Center (CRC), First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.
4
Department of Ultrasound, First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. Electronic address: ruanlitao@163.com.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between plaque echo, thickness and neovascularization in different stenosis groups using quantitative and semi-quantitative contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in patients with carotid atherosclerosis plaque. A total of 224 plaques were divided into mild stenosis (<50%; 135 plaques, 60.27%), moderate stenosis (50%-69%; 39 plaques, 17.41%) and severe stenosis (70%-99%; 50 plaques, 22.32%) groups. Quantitative and semi-quantitative methods were used to assess plaque neovascularization and determine the relationship between plaque echo, thickness and neovascularization. Correlation analysis revealed no relationship of neovascularization with plaque echo in the groups using either quantitative or semi-quantitative methods. Furthermore, there was no correlation of neovascularization with plaque thickness using the semi-quantitative method. The ratio of areas under the curve (RAUC) was negatively correlated with plaque thickness (r = -0.317, p = 0.001) in the mild stenosis group. With the quartile method, plaque thickness of the mild stenosis group was divided into four groups, with significant differences between the 1.5-2.2 mm and ≥3.5 mm groups (p = 0.002), 2.3-2.8 mm and ≥3.5 mm groups (p <0.001) and 2.9-3.4 mm and ≥3.5 mm groups (p <0.001). Both semi-quantitative and quantitative CEUS methods characterizing neovascularization of plaque are equivalent with respect to assessing relationships between neovascularization, echogenicity and thickness. However, the quantitative method could fail for plaque <3.5 mm because of motion artifacts.

KEYWORDS:

Carotid artery; Contrast-enhanced ultrasound; Echogenicity; Neovascularization; Thickness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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