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Combination of Magnetic Resonance Angiography and Computational Fluid Dynamics May Predict the Risk of Stroke in Patients with Asymptomatic Carotid Plaques

Qian Jia, Hongbin Liu, Yanping Li, Xiaoxi Wang, Jinju Jia, Yuying Li

(Second Department of Geriatric Cardiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:479-488

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.902995


BACKGROUND: Atherosclerosis plaques in the carotid arteries frequently have been found in patients with stroke. However, the pathogenesis of carotid plaque from asymptomatic to cerebrovascular events is a complex process which is still not completely understood. We aimed to investigate the prognosis of asymptomatic carotid atherosclerotic plaques by use of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) combined with computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We prospectively studied a cohort of 228 participants (mean age 59.21±8.48) with asymptomatic carotid atherosclerotic plaques; mean follow-up duration was 1147.56±224.84 days. Plaque morphology parameters were obtained by MRA analysis. Lumen area (LA) and total vessel area (TVA) were measured, and wall area (WA=TVA−LA) and normalized wall area index (NWI=WA/TVA) were calculated. CFD analysis was performed to evaluate hemodynamic characteristics, including wall pressure (WP) and wall shear stress (WSS). Independent risk factors for stroke were obtained by Cox regression analysis. The area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operator characteristic (ROC) and Z-statistic test were used to evaluate risk factors.
RESULTS: Logistics regression analysis showed NWI (OR: 3.472, 95% CI: 2.943-4.096, P=0.11) and WSS (OR: 6.974, 95% CI: 1.070-45.453, P=0.42) were independent risk factors of stroke for patients with asymptomatic carotid plaques. The area under the ROC curve values for WSS, NWI, and WSS+NWI were 0.772, 0.798, and 0.903, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The combination of plaque morphology characteristics NWI and hemodynamic parameter WSS may predict the risk of stroke in patients with asymptomatic carotid plaques.

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