Li Dong1, Hunter Underhill1, Vasily L. Yarnykh1, Wei Yu2, Hideki Ota1, Xihai Zhao1, Thomas S. Hatsukami3, Zhaoqi Zhang2, Chun Yuan1
1Department of Radiology, University of
Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 2Department of Radiology, Beijing
Anzhen Hospital, Beijing, China; 3Department of Surgery, University
of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
We sought to assess correlations between MRA, plaque burden and high-risk plaque features in a clinical atherosclerosis population. Subjects (n=66) with >50% carotid stenosis measured by ultrasound in at least one carotid artery, underwent bilateral contrast-enhanced carotid MRA at 3.0T to determine the degree of stenosis and bilateral carotid MRI to identify plaque burden, composition and fibrous cap status. There was a moderate positive correlation between degree of stenosis and plaque burden, but a weak correlation with plaque composition and cap status. Furthermore, high-risk plaque features were commonly observed in arteries with no or minimal stenosis. These findings suggest a critical role for vessel wall imaging to assess the risk of carotid atherosclerosis for future ischemic events.