Objective. The relationship between breast arterial calcification and coronary artery calcification and stenosis is currently an area of active research. It has been suggested in the literature that calcified arteries in the breast may be positively correlated with coronary artery disease. The sensitivity of x-ray mammography, the main breast imaging method, is reduced in radiologically dense breasts. In a recent study, we showed that vibro-acoustography, a novel noninvasive imaging technique that is based on the dynamic response of the object to a vibrating force, can detect microcalcifications in the breast regardless of breast density. In this study, we examined the application of vibro-acoustography in detecting calcified arteries in breast tissue. Methods. Experiments were conducted on 207 postsurgical excised human breast tissue samples. Tissues specimens were imaged with a high-resolution x-ray mammography unit. Each sample with confirmed arterial calcification was then scanned by the vibro-acoustography system, and the resulting image was compared with the corresponding mammogram. We also studied the histologic characteristics of each sample to positively identify the disease and the presence of arterial calcification. Results. Initial mammograms clearly showed 14 calcified arteries. The corresponding vibro-acoustographic images showed all calcified arteries as fragmented linear structures. The vibro-acoustographic appearance of the arteries was highly correlated with their distinctive radiographic appearance, which allowed us to identify all the calcified arteries in the vibro-acoustographic images. Condusions. Vibro-acoustography can be used to detect calcified arteries in excised breast tissue. This method may eventually play a role in identifying individuals with an increased risk of coronary artery disease.
- Calcified breast arteries
- Coronary artery diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging