Assessment of dynamic plaque behaviour may help identify vulnerable carotid plaque before rupture and hence has potential clinical value for screening patients at risk of stroke. The aim of this study was to develop non-invasive ultrasound methods for quantifying dynamic plaque and vessel wall behaviour and assess their potential clinical utility. Ultrasound data from the carotid arteries of one normal subject and four patients with atherosclerotic disease were acquired using a 10 MHz linear array transducer recording raw RF/IQ data at a frame rate up to 80 Hz for 3-6 seconds. Image reconstruction and processing was performed using Matlab. Speckle tracking techniques were developed to characterize: (1) intraplaque deformation; and (2) plaque surface and vessel wall motion. Speckle tracking techniques were able to measure the range of intraplaque tissue deformation (-1.3 to 1.7 mm), plaque surface displacement (0.2-0.7 mm) and vessel wall radial strain (0.02-0.13) throughout the cardiac cycle. The feasibility of using an intraplaque deformation parameter, based on the deformation of a square template, is demonstrated. Speckle tracking techniques can be used to assess dynamic carotid plaque behaviour. Further work is required to evaluate how best to quantify biomechanical behaviour to help predict plaque rupture and hence improve risk stratification models for stroke.
- Diagnostic imaging
- Signal processing
- Vessel wall motion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging