OBJECTIVE-: Histological studies suggest associations between hemorrhage and large lipid-rich/necrotic cores with thin or ruptured fibrous caps in advanced atherosclerosis. We investigated these associations in carotid arteries with mild to severe stenosis by in vivo 3T MRI. METHODS AND RESULTS-: Seventy-seven patients with ≥50% carotid stenosis in at least one side by duplex ultrasound underwent bilateral multi-contrast carotid MRI scans. Measurements for wall and lipid-rich/necrotic core sizes, presence of hemorrhage, and fibrous cap status (classified as intact thick, intact thin or ruptured) were recorded. Arteries with poor image quality, occlusion, or no detectable lipid-rich/necrotic core were excluded. For the 798 MRI slices included, multivariate ordinal regression analysis demonstrated larger %lipid-rich/necrotic core (odds ratio for 10% increase, 1.49; P=0.02) and presence of hemorrhage (odds ratio, 5.91; P<0.001) were independently associated with a worse (intact thin or ruptured) stage of fibrous cap status. For artery-based multivariate analysis, a larger maximum %lipid-rich/necrotic core and presence of hemorrhage independently associated with worse fibrous cap status (P<0.001, for both). No hemorrhage was detected in arteries with thick fibrous caps. CONCLUSION-: Hemorrhage and larger %lipid-rich/necrotic core were independently associated with a thin or ruptured fibrous cap status at an early to advanced stage of carotid atherosclerosis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 2009 Oct|
- Carotid artery
- Fibrous cap rupture
- Lipid-rich necrotic core