Elasticity imaging of atheroma with transcutaneous ultrasound: Preliminary study

Hiroshi Kanai, Hideyuki Hasegawa, Masataka Ichiki, Fumiaki Tezuka, Yoshiro Koiwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Knowledge of the physical properties of atherosclerotic plaque is essential when evaluating its vulnerability in a clinical setting. Such knowledge, however, is still difficult to obtain with the various approaches developed to date. Methods and Results - This article describes a noninvasive method for evaluating the regional elasticity (the elastic modulus in the circumferential direction) of tissue surrounding atherosclerotic plaque in which a novel phased tracking method is applied to measure minute changes in thickness of each of the multiple layers of the arterial wall during one heartbeat. By comparing the pathological findings with the distribution of elasticity, average elasticity of lipid and that of a mixture of smooth muscle and collagen fiber can be determined. On the basis of these reference parameters, each point is statistically categorized as lipid, mixture, or other. Thus, the plaque is electronically stained using transcutaneous ultrasound. By applying the method to the common carotid arteries, the presence of thin collagen fiber was clarified along the arterial axis for normal subjects, whereas soft inclusion of lipid was found for every plaque in subjects with hyperlipidemia. Conclusion - This novel method offers potential as a diagnostic technique for detection of plaque vulnerability with high spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3018-3021
Number of pages4
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun 24


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Elasticity
  • Plaque
  • Ultrasonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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