BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The relationship between carotid intraplaque hemorrhage and luminal stenosis severity is not wellestablished. We sought to determine whether intraplaque hemorrhage is related to carotid stenosis and at what degree of stenosis intraplaque hemorrhage most likely contributes to ischemic symptoms. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Consecutive patients who underwent MR carotid plaque imaging with MPRAGE sequences to identify intraplaque hemorrhage were retrospectively reviewed. Degrees of stenoses were categorized as minimal (,30%), moderate (30%- 69%), and severe (.70%). Arteries were categorized into 2 groups: Symptomatic (ipsilateral to a cerebral ischemic event) and asymptomatic (from a patient without an ischemic event). Multiple regression analyses were used to determine independent associations between the degree of stenosis and intraplaque hemorrhage and the presence of intraplaque hemorrhage with symptoms among categories of stenosis. RESULTS: We included 449 patients with 449 carotid arteries: Two hundred twenty-five (50.1%) were symptomatic, and 224 (49.9%) were asymptomatic. An increasing degree of stenosis was independently associated with the presence of intraplaque hemorrhage (OR = 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.03). Intraplaque hemorrhage was independently associated with ischemic events in arteries with ,30% stenosis (OR = 5.68; 95% CI, 1.49-21.69). No such association was observed in arteries with .30% stenosis. Of symptomatic arteries with minimal stenosis, 8.7% had intraplaque hemorrhage versus 1.7% of asymptomatic arteries (P = .02). No differences in intraplaque hemorrhage prevalence were found between symptomatic and asymptomatic groups with moderate (P = .18) and severe stenoses (P = .99). CONCLUSIONS: The presence of intraplaque hemorrhage on high-resolution plaque imaging is likely most useful in identifying symptomatic plaques in cases of minimal stenosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology