Author(s): Walker LJ
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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
The goal of this study was to determine the efficacy of CT angiography for the characterization of plaque morphology and composition in carotid atherosclerotic disease.
Fifty-five patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy were imaged preoperatively with single-slice spiral CT angiography. One hundred sixty-five endarterectomy sections were examined histologically at selected levels through the distal common and proximal internal carotid arteries. Plaque density was measured (in Hounsfield units) on axial CT sections, and the presence or absence of ulceration was noted. These observations were compared with the histological findings at corresponding levels. Data were analyzed with 2-sample t tests and 1-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).
ANOVA testing showed a statistically significant decrease in CT attenuation values with increasing plaque lipid but with a very high standard deviation of values. No other histological factor showed a statistically significant link with CT attenuation. Plaque ulceration was detected by CT with a sensitivity of 60% and a specificity of 74%.
Analysis of plaque attenuation with single-slice spiral CT does not give useful information concerning plaque composition. The predictive value of CT for the detection of plaque ulceration was moderate. Single-slice CT angiography is insufficiently robust to be a useful tool for the characterization of carotid plaque composition and morphology.
This article was published in stroke
and referenced in Angiology: Open Access