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06 June 2017 : Clinical Research  

Quantitative Analysis of Lipid-Rich Necrotic Core in Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaques by In Vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Clinical Outcomes

Jun Xia1ABCDE, Anyu Yin1BF, Zhenzhou Li2ABF, Xin Liu3CD, Xianghong Peng4CD, Ni Xie4AFG*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.901864

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:2745-2750

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to explore the accuracy of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the quantitative evaluation of lipid-rich necrotic core (LRNC) in carotid atherosclerotic plaques compared with histopathology, and to assess the association of LRNC size with cerebral ischemia symptoms.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Thirty patients were enrolled and 19 patients (16 men and 3 women) were analyzed. All the patients were submitted to MRI on a Siemens Avanto (1.5-Tesla) device before carotid endarterectomy (CEA). The scanning protocol included three-dimensional time of flight (3D TOF), T1-weighted image (T1WI), T2-weighted image (T2WI), turbo spin-echo T2-weighted (T2-TSE), and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted image. MRI images were reviewed for quantitative measurements of LRNC areas. LRNC specimens were collected for histology. Percentages of LRNC area to total vessel area were assessed to determine the association of MRI with histological findings.

RESULTS: There were 151 pairs of matched MRI and pathological sections. LRNC area percentages (LRNC area/vessel area) measured by MRI and histology were 20.6±9.0% and 18.7±9.5%, respectively (r=0.69, p<0.001). Twelve out of 19 patients had symptoms (S-group; 3 had recent stroke, 3 had a recent stroke and a history of transient ischemic attack (TIA), and 6 had TIA); the remaining 7 subjects showed no symptoms (NS-group). LRNC area percentages in the S- and NS-groups were 22.2±5.8% and 12.6±10.7%, respectively (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: MRI can quantitatively measure LRNC in carotid atherosclerotic plaques, and may be useful in predicting the rupture risk of plaques. These findings provide a basis for imaging use in individualized treatment plan.

Keywords: Carotid Arteries, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Plaque, Atherosclerotic

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750