Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging for noninvasive characterization of carotid artery atherosclerotic plaques: a feasibility study.
Atherosclerotic disease in the carotid artery is a risk factor for stroke. The susceptibility of atherosclerotic plaque to rupture, however, is challenging to determine by any imaging method. In this study, acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging is applied to atherosclerotic disease in the carotid artery to determine the feasibility of using ARFI to noninvasively characterize carotid plaques. ARFI imaging is a useful method for characterizing the local mechanical properties of tissue and is complementary to B-mode imaging. ARFI imaging can readily distinguish between stiff and soft regions of tissue. High-resolution images of both homogeneous and heterogeneous plaques were observed. Homogeneous plaques were indistinguishable in stiffness from vascular tissue. However, they showed thicknesses much greater than normal vascular tissue. In heterogeneous plaques, large and small soft regions were observed, with the smallest observed soft region having a diameter of 0.5 mm. A stiff cap was observed covering the large soft tissue region, with the cap thickness ranging from 0.7-1.3 mm.
Dahl, JJ; Dumont, DM; Allen, JD; Miller, EM; Trahey, GE
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