Atherosclerotic Plaque Characterization in Humans with Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) Imaging Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Czernuszewicz, Tomasz
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) are among the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. A vast majority of heart attacks and strokes are linked to atherosclerosis; a condition characterized by inflammation and plaque accumulation in the arterial wall that can rupture and propagate an acute thrombotic event. Identification of plaques that are vulnerable to rupture is paramount to the prevention of heart attacks and strokes, but a noninvasive plaque characterization imaging technology that is cost-effective, safe, and accurate has remained elusive. The goal of this dissertation is to evaluate whether acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging, an ultrasound-based elastography technique, can noninvasively characterize plaque components and identify features that have been shown to correlate with plaque vulnerability. Data are presented from preclinical studies, done in a porcine model of atherosclerosis, and clinical studies, performed in patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (CEA), to demonstrate the sensitivity and specificity of ARFI for various plaque components. Additionally, the ability of ARFI to measure fibrous cap thickness is assessed with finite element method (FEM) modelling, and the limits of ARFI fibrous cap resolution are analyzed. Lastly, advanced ARFI-based plaque imaging methods are explored, including intravascular ARFI for coronary plaque characterization. Overall, these studies demonstrate that ARFI can delineate features consistent with vulnerable plaque in a clinical imaging context and suggest that ARFI has the potential to improve the current state of the art in atherosclerosis diagnostics.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Gallippi, Caterina
  • Nichols, Timothy
  • Dayton, Paul
  • Jiang, Xiaoning
  • Homeister, Jonathon
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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