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Ultrasound Med Biol. 1997;23(5):643-50.

Carotid plaque typing by multiple-parameter ultrasonic tissue characterization.

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Department of Surgery Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19129, USA.


We evaluated the ability of ultrasonic tissue characterization (UTC), based on backscattered echo signals, to distinguish among the components of advanced carotid plaques. We performed spectral analysis of echo signals acquired from human carotid endarterectomy specimens in vitro to calculate three parameters of the calibrated power spectrum: slope, intercept and total power for fibrous, lipid pool and thrombus constituents of plaque. Plaque constituents were identified histologically. We evaluated classification efficacy by discriminant function analysis. Slope and intercept parameters alone provided correct classification in 92.5%, 57.6% and 72.4% of fibrous, lipid pool and thrombus plaque components, respectively. Slope, intercept and total power used in combination improved classification of the three tissue types to 93.0%, 69.7% and 81.0%. The overall proportion of correctly classified tissue regions increased from 84.5% to 88.0% by the combined use of the three parameters. The improvement in classification that occurred when we included total power as a third parameter suggests that ultrasound plaque components may not consist solely of small, randomly distributed isotropic scatterers. Our ability to identify plaque thrombi provides motivation for future studies of parameter-based imaging methods for identifying such plaque that presents an increased risk of embolic neurologic ischemic events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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