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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 1999 January-February;47(1-2):15-24

language: English

Ultrasound characterization and quantification of carotid atherosclerosis lesions

Pourcelot L., Tranquart F., De Bray J. M., Philippot M., Bonithon M. C., Salez F.


The development of ultrasonography in vascular applications has entailed research of ultrasound parameters leading to precise the diagnosis and quantification of carotid lesions in routine. The use of recent colour Doppler imaging techniques (velocity or power encoding) is recommended as they allow a better definition of the lesions and recesses. At present, features of plaque that could be related to increased incidence of stroke are: echogenicity, with a more frequent observation of anechoic or hypoechoic lesions in the case of clinical signs; texture, with frequent haemorrhage; surface contour, with a high rate of ulcerations which were accompanied by stroke; plaque motion, with a significant alteration in plaque motility in symptomatic patients; progression or regression in size, with a faster progression of anechoic and hypoechoic plaques; an increase in plaque volume is associated with a greater risk of stroke; a significant relationship between the presence of ''ulcers'' and embolic activity. The quantification of stenosis degree could be made using velocity criteria and/or morphological criteria. Velocity criteria could be obtained at the site of the stenosis (direct criteria) or downstream the carotid stenosis using Duplex systems. Morphological criteria could be obtained using B-mode imaging or colour Doppler but this quantification remains difficult in case of diffuse carotid stenoses or very severe stenoses.

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