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Characterization of plaque components and vulnerability with intravascular ultrasound elastography.

  • de Korte, C L
  • van der Steen, A F
  • Cépedes, E I
  • Pasterkamp, G
  • Carlier, S G
  • Mastik, F
  • Schoneveld, A H
  • Serruys, P W
  • Bom, N
Published Article
Physics in medicine and biology
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2000
PMID: 10870704


Intravascular ultrasound elastography is a method for measuring the local elastic properties using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). The elastic properties of the different tissues within the atherosclerotic plaque are measured through the strain. Knowledge of these elastic properties is useful for guiding interventional procedures (balloon dilatation, ablation) and detection of the vulnerable plaque. In the last decade, several groups have applied elastography intravascularly with various levels of success. In this paper, the approaches of the different research groups will be discussed. The focus will be on our approach to the application of intravascular elastography. Elastograms were acquired in vitro and in vivo using the relative local displacements between IVUS images acquired at two levels of intravascular pressure with a 30 MHz mechanical or a 20 MHz array echo catheter. These displacements were estimated from the time shift between gated radiofrequency echo signals using cross-correlation algorithms with interpolation around the peak. Experiments on gel-based phantoms mimicking atherosclerotic vessels demonstrated the capability of elastography to identify soft and hard tissues independently of the echogenicity contrast. In vitro experiments on human arteries have demonstrated the potential of intravascular elastography to identify different plaque types based on their mechanical properties. These plaques could not be identified using the IVUS image alone. In vivo experiments revealed that reproducible elastograms could be obtained near end-diastole. Partial validation using the echogram was performed. Intravascular elastography provides information that is frequently unavailable or inconclusive from the IVUS image and which may therefore assist in the diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerotic disease.

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