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Journal of Vascular Surgery



The standard indication for intervention in asymptomatic disease is currently percent stenosis in the internal carotid artery as measured by the NASCET method, which remains limited in discriminating power. CT angiography (CTA) is widely used to calculate NASCET stenosis but also offers the opportunity to analyze carotid artery plaques from a morphological perspective that has not been widely utilized. We aim to improve stroke risk stratification of patients with carotid artery stenosis using plaque 3D modeling and image analysis. Patients with CTAs appropriate for 3D reconstruction were identified from an NIH designated stroke center database, and carotid arteries were segmented and analyzed using software algorithms to calculate contact surface area between the plaque and blood flow (CSA), and volume of the flow lumen within the region of the plaque (FLV). These novel parameters factor in the 3D morphometry inherent to each carotid plaque. A total of 134 carotid arteries were analyzed, 33 of which were associated with an ipsilateral stroke. Plaques associated with stroke demonstrated statistically significant increases in average CSA and FLV when compared to those not associated with stroke. When compared to NASCET percent stenosis, CSA and FLV both demonstrated a larger area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC) in predicting stroke risk in patients with carotid stenosis. The data presented here demonstrate morphological features of carotid plaques that are independent of NASCET criteria stratification and may present an improved method in assessing stroke risk in patients with carotid artery stenosis.


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